BCS70 – Age 46-47 – Verbal Learning/Word List Recall Test (Immediate and Delayed)

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The 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) assessed their cohort members (CMs) during the study’s age 46-47 sweep using the Verbal Learning Word List Recall Test (Immediate and Delayed).

Details on this measure and the data collected from the CMs are outlined in the table below.


DomainVerbal (memory)
Measures:Attention
Short-term episodic memory
Verbal memory
CHC:Glr (Long-Term Storage and Retrieval)
Administration method:Trained interviewer; CAPI
Procedure:One of four lists of 10 common words were selected by the CAPI, and presented to participant via a recorded voice at a rate of one word every 2-seconds. In cases where the computer voice was not audible, the interviewer read the words, mimicking the pace and clarity of the recorded voice. After the list had been read out, the participants were given two minutes to recall as many of the words as possible (in no particular order). The total number recalled was entered into the CAPI.
After additional tests were administered (animal naming and letter cancellation), the interviewer asked the participant to again recall as many words as possible from the original list (words not repeated by CAPI/interviewer). This delayed memory task was administered approximately five minutes after the initial recall task.
Link to questionnaire:https://cls.ucl.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/BCS70_collated-CAPI-specs_FINAL.pdf (opens in new tab)
Scoring:Immediate recall: 10 items (scores range 0 - 10)
Delayed recall: 10 items (scores range 0 - 10)
Item-level variable(s):Not currently available
Total score/derived variable(s):B10CFLISN, B10CFLISD
Descriptives:Recall (immediate)Recall (delayed)
N = 8,501N = 8,494
Range = 0 - 10Range = 0 - 10
Mean = 6.61Mean = 5.47
SD = 1.43SD = 1.81
(click image to enlarge)
(click image to enlarge)
Age of participants (months):Mean = 563.26, SD = 8.26, Range = 542 - 578
Other sweep and/or cohort:NCDS – Age 50 – Verbal Learning/Word List Recall Test (Immediate and Delayed)
NCDS – Age 61-63 – Proposed repeat of tests at age 50
NSHD – Age 43 – Verbal Learning/Word List Recall Test*
NSHD – Age 53 – Verbal Learning/Word List Recall Test*
NSHD – Age 60-64 – Verbal Learning/Word List Recall Test*
NSHD – Age 68-70 – Verbal Learning/Word List Recall Test*
(* For each of three trials survey members were shown a list of 15 words at a rate of two seconds each, then were asked to write down as many words recalled as possible. A simple total score is available calculated as the sum of the words correctly recalled at each trial.)
Source:Similar tasks have been used to measure verbal learning for decades, e.g. Bush and Mosteller (1955). Cognitive measures at this sweep were taken from the 2002 English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA; Taylor et al., 2007).
Technical resources:Banks, J., Breeze, E., Lessof, C., & Nazroo, J. (2006). Retirement, health and relationships of the older population in England: The 2004 English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (Wave 2).
Reference examples:Not available at time of writing

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This page is part of CLOSER’s ‘A guide to the cognitive measures in five British birth cohort studies’.