Abstract

Abstract

Story memory tests are commonly used in clinical neuropsychology. Surprisingly, no guidelines are provided for speed of presentation for two of the most commonly used story memory tests in clinical neuropsychology. The current investigation was designed to explore whether speed of presentation influences recall on the Story subtest from the Rivermead Behavioural Memory Test. Consistent with predictions, college students in Study 1 and multiple sclerosis participants in Study 2 recalled significantly more story elements at immediate recall when the story was presented slow versus fast. This effect, however, was limited to the conditions where the fast story was presented before the slow story. At delayed recall, participants in both studies recalled more story elements in the slow versus fast story independent of presentation conditions. Both studies also revealed that significantly more participants fell in the “impaired” range on immediate recall for the fast story in the condition where it was presented first. Data from these studies show that speed of presentation can substantially alter story recall in a wide range of individuals. It will be important to develop story tests for which speed of presentation is standardized to ensure that erroneous conclusions regarding memory are not drawn about individuals seen in clinical neuropsychological practice.

Author notes

The multiple sclerosis (MS) data on the Story subtest published in this article were taken from the same sample of MS participants discussed in Higginson, Arnett, and Voss (2000) and Randolph, Arnett, and Higginson (2001). Presented in part at the 19th Annual Meeting of the National Academy of Neuropsychology, San Antonio, TX, November, 1999.