Episodic memory

LASA156 / LASA356

Contact: Almar Kok

The 15 Words Test (15WT) is developed to investigate episodic memory problems in patients with brain disorders. It is the Dutch version of the Auditory Verbal Learning Test (AVLT; Rey, 1964; Deelman et al. 1980; Saan RJ & Deelman BG. 1986). This test consists of 15 words, which have to be learned during five trials. After every trial the respondent is asked to recall as many words as possible. After a distraction period of 20 minutes, the respondent is asked to name the words they have learned before, again.

Measurement instrument in LASA
In LASA the number of trials was limited to three because of scarcity of interview time. The test results are strongly influenced by sex, age and education level. Moreover a retest effect after several years is found in healthy subjects caused by knowledge of the procedure. In order to prevent any remembrance of the words two parallel versions of the 15WT are used in order to reduce a possible practice effect.

The number of correct words mentioned at each trial is represented in the variables *MWTT1, *MWTT2 and *MWTT3. The total number of words the respondent has learned during the three presentations is the recall score (variable name: *MTOTAL), which ranges from 0-45. The number of words reproduced after 20 minutes is the delayed recall score (variable name: *MWTDR), ranging from 0-15. The retention score represents the percentage words that is correctly remembered after the distraction period. The retention scores are computed in two ways: delayed recall score/score of trial 3 (*MRET1PC) and delayed recall score/highest score of one of the 3 trials (*MRET2PC). Higher scores on all variables indicate better memory functioning.

LASA*156 contains: the total number of correct words *MWTT1, *MWTT2 and *MWTT3 (from D-wave onwards), particularities during testing, the number of doubles and other words, and the delayed recall score.

LASA*356 contains: *MWTT1, *MWTT2 and *MWTT3 (only in B- and C-wave) and the sumscore of the three trials, the retention scores and the maximum score of the three trials (*MTMA*).

Before using the data of the 15WT it is important to look into the data. Some persons may have missing data or extreme bad scores on one of the trials. Therefor it may be preferable to use the maximum score of the three trials, the delayed recall score *MWTDR and as retention score: delayed recall score/highest score of one of the 3 trials (*MRET2PC) as best indices for memory performance in the LASA sample.

Also as is mentioned before we recommend to calculate the standardized scores of the test scores per measurement, and use those standardized scores in the analyses.

Descriptive statistics of 15 Words Test of waves B-G (pdf).

LASAB156 / LASAC156 / LASAD156 /LASAE156 / LAS2B156 / LASAF156 / LASAG156 / LASAH156 / LAS3B156 / LASAI156
(medical interview, 15WT is copyrighted material)

Variable information
LASAB156 / LASAC156 / LASAD156 /LASAE156 / LAS2B156 / LASAF156 / LASAG156 / LASAH156 / LAS3B156 / LASAI156;
LASAB356 / LASAC356 / LASAD356 /LASAE356 / LAS2B356 / LASAF356 / LASAG356 / LASAH356 / LAS3B356 / LASAI356 (constructed)

Availability in LASA per wave 1


























1 More information about the LASA data collection waves is available here.

* 2B=baseline second cohort;
   3B=baseline third cohort;
   MB=migrants: baseline first cohort

Me=data collected in medical interview

Previous use in LASA
Memory function and memory decline in the elderly was examined by e.g. Aartsen  et al. (2002, 2004), Bierman et al. (2009), Comijs et al. (2001, 2011), Dik et al. (2000, 2000), Gerritsen et al. 2011, Jonker et al. (2003), van den Kommer et al (2009, 2012)


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  2. Aartsen, M.J., Martin, M, & Zimprich, D (2004). Gender differences in level and change in cognitive functioning: Results from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam. Gerontology, 50, 35-38.
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