Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

Pierre Lienard

Second Committee Member

Daniel Benyshek

Third Committee Member

Gabriel Leger

Fourth Committee Member

William Jankowiak

Fifth Committee Member

Jeffrey Cummings

Sixth Committee Member

Jennifer Kawi


The research furthers the understanding of the impact of Alzheimer disease (AD) on cognition and the organization of semantic knowledge in the brain, which might contribute to the development of diagnostic and staging tools, and interventions to palliate cognitive deficits. The disruption of semantic knowledge in AD is well documented in the literature. Much of the existing research focuses on the general impact AD has on semantic knowledge. This study explores the impact of AD on specific domains of knowledge, chiefly, living kinds and artifacts, critical to ordinary functioning. The content, organization and structure of the investigated domains of knowledge is studied via free-listing and pile-sorting tasks, developed in Cultural Domain Analysis. The performance of patients with AD at the mild and moderate stages was compared to the performance of a sample of healthy controls. Patients and normal controls dramatically differed for their performance in the free-listing task. Further detailed analyses of the performance for both the free-listing and pile-sorting tasks show a domain-specific deterioration of the patients’ knowledge. That degradation is not random but follows a particular course specific to either one of the two semantic domains investigated.


Alzheimer's disease; Cognition; Cultural domain analysis; Dementia; Semantic knowledge; Semantic memory


Cognitive Psychology | Medical Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences | Social and Cultural Anthropology

File Format


File Size

2700 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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