NSHD – Age 43 – Visual Memory

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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 Visual Memory measure.

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


Domain:Non-verbal (memory)
Measures:Attention
Short-term episodic memory
Visual memory
Free-recall memory
CHC:Glr (Long-Term Storage and Retrieval)
Gv (Visual Processing)
Administration method:Research nurse; face to face; read aloud
Procedure:Cohort members were presented with 5 cards, each with a unique picture. They were asked to memorise the contents of the cards, and were permitted to look at the cards for 30 seconds. Later in the interview (after medical examination and questions about hearing and diet), participants were asked to recall what was on the five cards.
Link to questionnaire:https://skylark.ucl.ac.uk/NSHD/lib/exe/fetch.php?media=questionnaires:1989_a_main.pdf (opens in new tab)
Scoring:One mark for each correctly recalled picture (0 - 5)
Item-level variable(s):PIC189 - PIC589
Total score/derived variable(s):PICIN89, PICOK89
Descriptives:Raw score
N = 3,225
Range = 0 - 5
Mean = 4.41
SD = 0.79
Click image to enlarge
Age of participants (months):Mean = 521.84, SD = 2.19, Range = 514 - 533
Other sweep and/or cohort:None
Source:This task was developed specifically for this study by the NSHD team led by Prof Bryan Rodgers. Similar measures of visual recall have been used in studies of memory for decades (e.g. Shriffin et al., 1973).
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., Hardy, R., Kuh, D., & Wadsworth, M. E. (2001). Birth weight and cognitive function in the British 1946 birth cohort: longitudinal population based study. BMJ, 322(7280), 199-203.

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