Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Linda LeBlanc

Second Advisor

Dr. James Carr

Third Advisor

Dr. R. Mark Matthews

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Leilani Feliciano

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


When nursing home residents with dementia experience difficulty locating their bedroom, it can create problems for other residents and staff. This study investigated the ability of four elders with severe dementia to recognize various self-referent stimuli (i.e., young adulthood photograph, middle adulthood photograph, current photograph, and printed name). Two of the three participants who were able to complete the assessment recognized their photographs from earlier in life and their printed names but were not able to recognize their current photograph. These two residents then participated in an intervention in which the recognized stimuli were posted outside their bedroom doorway during assessment probes. Nether was able to locate their bedroom when any stimulus was posted (i.e., no stimulus, best recognized stimulus, poorest recognized stimulus). The results of this study suggest that posting relevant stimuli does not produce immediate increases in wayfinding and that discrimination training in the natural environment may be necessary to ensure that the presence of the photograph assumes discriminative properties.