Objective: This study examines which cognitive measure best accounts for perseverations in individuals with memory impairment. Method: The sample included 85 individuals, of whom 21 had subjective memory concerns, 27 had mild cognitive impairment, and 37 had Alzheimer's disease. Participants produced responses on a semantic category fluency task and on the ideational fluency (IF) task from the Cambridge Cognitive Examination-Revised. Measures of word finding, working memory, and abstract thinking were also assessed. Results: Significant group differences in percentage of perseverations emerged on both tasks. No cognitive measure accounted for the percentage of perseverations on the semantic fluency task. A measure of abstract thinking was the best predictor of the percentage of perseverations on the IF task, followed by a measure of working memory. Conclusions: The underlying cognitive mechanisms that lead to perseverations differ across tasks, with perseverations on the IF task reflecting both conceptual deficits and working memory limitations.
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