Adapting Short-Term Memory Measures to Assess Long-Term Memory

Nathan R. Frise, George Fox University


Current memory assessment paradigms assess memory using immediate recall and 15 to 30 minute recall methods. It is argued that this is an insufficient gauge of memory ability as it does not adequately estimate long-term memory (LTM) abilities. The purpose of this study was to determine whether currently used short-term memory assessment procedures could be modified and used to also evaluate long-term memory functioning. The 65 participants of this study were subdivided into a younger adult sample (18-41 years old), and an older adult sample (65 - 87 years old). Modified measures of Verbal and Visual Memory were used. Four recall trials were utilized. The fir st two intervals (immediate and brief delay) corresponded to the existing procedures for which the measures were designed. Further, two additional retention intervals were included, one-day and one-week delays. It was predicted that after modification, the commonly used immediate memory measures would retain adequate psychometric properties also to serve as LTM estimates. Results showed that for both age groups, memory assessed after one-day and seven-day intervals significantly differed from memory assessed in the standard manner, but the use of a one-day delay retained adequate psychometric integrity to be a viable measure of LTM. The one-week delay condition showed marginal psychometric viability. Using clinical samples to demonstrate the diagnostic utility of these adapted methods to measure LTM awaits future research.