NSHD – Age 43 – Verbal Learning/Word List Recall Test

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The MRC National Survey of Health of Development (NSHD) assessed their cohort members (CMs) during the study’s age 43 sweep using the Verbal Learning/Word List Recall Test.

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


Domain:Verbal (memory)
Measures:Attention
Short-term episodic memory
Verbal memory
Free-recall memory
CHC:Glr (Long-Term Storage and Retrieval)
Administration method:Research nurse; face to face; pen and paper
Procedure:Participants were shown a list of 15 words at a rate of one word every two seconds. They were then asked to right down as many words recalled as possible. This trial was done a total of three times, and a total score was calculated as the sum of the words correctly recalled over the three trials.
Link to questionnaire:https://skylark.ucl.ac.uk/NSHD/lib/exe/fetch.php?media=questionnaires:1989_b_sc.pdf (opens in new tab)
Scoring:One point for every correctly recalled word (0 - 45)
Item-level variable(s):Not currently available
Total score/derived variable(s):WL10189 - WL31589, WLT89
Descriptives:Raw score
N = 3,059
Range = 0 - 42
Mean = 24.72
SD = 6.39
(click image to enlarge)
Age of participants (months):Mean = 521.84, SD = 2.19, Range = 514 - 533
Other sweep and/or cohort:NCDS – Age 50 – Verbal Learning/Word List Recall Test (Immediate and Delayed) (1 trial only; 10 words, presented aurally)
NCDS – Age 61-63 – Proposed repeat of tests at age 50
BCS70 – Age 46-47 – Verbal Learning/Word List Recall Test (Immediate and Delayed) (1 trial only; 10 words, presented aurally)
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
Source:This task was developed specifically for this study by the NSHD team led by Prof Bryan Rodgers. Similar tasks have been used to measure verbal learning for decades, e.g. Bush and Mosteller (1955).
Technical resources:None
Reference examples:Richards, M., Kuh, D., Hardy, R., & Wadsworth, M. (1999). Lifetime cognitive function and timing of the natural menopause. Neurology, 53(2), 308-308.
Richards, M., Shipley, B., Fuhrer, R., & Wadsworth, M. E. (2004). Cognitive ability in childhood and cognitive decline in mid-life: longitudinal birth cohort study. BMJ, 328(7439), 552.

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