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Memo test: standardisation of computerised assessment of auditory verbal short-term memory

Swain, S., Coughlan, N., Kelly, H., Hwang, F. and Salis, C. (2015) Memo test: standardisation of computerised assessment of auditory verbal short-term memory. British Aphasiology Society Therapy Symposium. (Unpublished)

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Abstract/Summary

Short-term memory (STM) impairments are prevalent in adults with acquired brain injuries. While there are several published tests to assess these impairments, the majority require speech production, e.g. digit span (Wechsler, 1987). This feature may make them unsuitable for people with aphasia and motor speech disorders because of word finding difficulties and speech demands respectively. If patients perceive the speech demands of the test to be high, the may not engage with testing. Furthermore, existing STM tests are mainly ‘pen-and-paper’ tests, which can jeopardise accuracy. To address these shortcomings, we designed and standardised a novel computerised test that does not require speech output and because of the computerised delivery it would enable clinicians identify STM impairments with greater precision than current tests. The matching listening span tasks, similar to the non-normed PALPA 13 (Kay, Lesser & Coltheart, 1992) is used to test short-term memory for serial order of spoken items. Sequences of digits are presented in pairs. The person hears the first sequence, followed by the second sequence and s/he decides whether the two sequences are the same or different. In the computerised test, the sequences are presented in live voice recordings on a portable computer through a software application (Molero Martin, Laird, Hwang & Salis 2013). We collected normative data from healthy older adults (N=22-24) using digits, real words (one- and two-syllables) and non-words (one- and two- syllables). Their performance was scored following two systems. The Highest Span system was the highest span length (e.g. 2-8) at which a participant correctly responded to over 7 out of 10 trials at the highest sequence length. Test re-test reliability was also tested in a subgroup of participants. The test will be available as free of charge for clinicians and researchers to use.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Department of Bio-Engineering
ID Code:39872

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