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Memory rehabilitation: restorative, specific knowledge acquisition, compensatory, and holistic approaches

Gopi, Yashoda; Wilding, Edward; Madan, Christopher R.


Yashoda Gopi

Edward Wilding


Memory impairment following an acquired brain injury can negatively impact daily living and quality of life—but can be reduced by memory rehabilitation. Here, we review the literature on four approaches for memory rehabilitation and their associated strategies: (1) the restorative approach, aimed at a return to pre-morbid functioning, (2) the knowledge acquisition approach, involving training on specific information relevant to daily life, (3) the compensatory approach, targeted at improving daily functioning, and (4) the holistic approach, in which social, emotional, and behavioral deficits are addressed alongside cognitive consequences of acquired brain injury. Each memory rehabilitation approach includes specific strategies such as drill and practice (restorative), spaced retrieval (knowledge acquisition), memory aids (compensatory), or a combination of psychotherapy and cognitive strategies (holistic). Past research has demonstrated mixed support for the use of restorative strategies to improve memory function, whereas knowledge acquisition strategies show promising results on trained tasks but little generalization to untrained tasks and activities of daily living. Compensatory strategies remain widely used but require intensive training to be effectively employed. Finally, the holistic approach is becoming more widespread due to improvements in psychosocial wellbeing, yet there are considerable resource and cost requirements. Several factors can influence rehabilitation outcomes including metacognition and emotional disturbances. Considerations for future research to improve the applicability of strategies for memory rehabilitation include assessing memory impairment severity, examining memory needs in daily life, and exploring the long-term effects of memory rehabilitation.


Gopi, Y., Wilding, E., & Madan, C. R. (2022). Memory rehabilitation: restorative, specific knowledge acquisition, compensatory, and holistic approaches. Cognitive Processing, 23, 537-557.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 25, 2022
Online Publication Date Jul 5, 2022
Publication Date 2022-11
Deposit Date Sep 3, 2022
Publicly Available Date Sep 5, 2022
Journal Cognitive Processing
Print ISSN 1612-4782
Electronic ISSN 1612-4790
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 23
Pages 537-557
Keywords Artificial Intelligence; Cognitive Neuroscience; Experimental and Cognitive Psychology; General Medicine
Public URL
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