The impact of goal cues on everyday action performance in dementia

Laura Brennan, Tania Giovannetti, David J. Libon, Brianne Magouirk Bettcher, Katia Duey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Everyday action performance is impaired as a consequence of dementia. Omissions (i.e., not performing task steps) are a frequent source of error in everyday tasks among dementia patients. External cues or notes are often suggested to improve everyday functioning and might specifically address omission errors; however, the efficacy of such strategies has not been evaluated. Thus, the primary aim of this study was to assess the efficacy of goal cues (i.e., reminders of everyday task objectives) for improving dementia patients' everyday action performance. Forty-four participants with mild to moderate dementia were administered the Naturalistic Action Test (NAT), a performance-based test that includes three everyday tasks. After participants indicated that they had completed each task, they were presented with a cue card restating the task goals. Videotapes were used to code task performance as well as responses to the cues. Most participants checked their work and showed significant improvement in task accomplishment/omission errors, but not commission errors, after the cues. However, effect sizes for the differences were small, and the proportion of cases in the impaired range did not differ before versus after the cues. Therefore, although statistically significant, we concluded that the goal cues did not meaningfully or clinically improve everyday functioning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)562-582
Number of pages21
JournalNeuropsychological Rehabilitation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2009
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Rehabilitation
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Psychology


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