By Tania Lombrozo
Originally published on March 4, 2014
Here are some excerpts:
The startling result was that memory wasn't a frontrunner when it came to what sustains someone's "true self." Instead, the winner was morality. A person who had trouble learning new information or forgot childhood memories, for example, was regarded as less fundamentally altered than one who became cruel or selfish, or even one who acquired positive moral traits, such as honesty or forgiveness.
The lesson from Zaitchik's research is that while Alzheimer's patients suffer from serious conceptual impairments relative to their healthy counterparts, these impairments aren't uniform across domains. An Alzheimer's patient can be wrong about whether zebras have stripes or a car is alive, but have social and moral reasoning abilities that are relatively intact.
The entire article is here.