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J Clin Exp Neuropsychol. 1992 Sep;14(5):647-61.

Effects of age on the Rey-Osterrieth and Taylor complex figures: test-retest data using an intentional learning paradigm.

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  • 1Psychology Department, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.


The degree to which the Rey-Osterrieth and Taylor complex figures provide equivalent measures of visual memory, and the effects of age on figure comparability were examined in two experiments. Both experiments employed a multiple-trial, intentional learning procedure wherein each figure was administered twice in a counterbalanced sequence to subjects aged 20 to 80 years. In Experiment 1, a constant 60-s exposure duration was used; in Experiment 2, a self-pacing procedure was employed where the exposure duration was individually determined. The results from both experiments showed that the Taylor figure was easier to learn than the Rey-Osterrieth figure, indicating that the two figures are not equivalent for testing memory. These results were supported by subjective judgements on the relative difficulty to learn and remember each figure. Finally, younger (20-59 years) subjects performed at a higher level than older (60-80 years) subjects on both figures. Recommendations and possible alternatives are suggested regarding the use of the figures in both constructional and visuo-spatial memory test-retest situations.

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