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Arch Clin Neuropsychol. 2004 Sep;19(6):759-67.

Speed and memory in the WAIS-III Digit Symbol--Coding subtest across the adult lifespan.

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Albertus Magnus College, 700 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT 06511, USA.


The primary role of speed in determining Digit Symbol scores is well established. Among the important questions that remain to be resolved are: (1) whether speed accounts for all of the age-related decline in Digit Symbol scores, and (2) whether memory ability makes any significant contribution to Digit Symbol performance, especially after controlling for speed. We analyzed data from the WAIS-III/WMS-III standardization sample to resolve these issues. As expected, speed (Digit Symbol-Copy) correlated very strongly with Digit Symbol--Coding. Memory (Digit Symbol--Incidental Learning or WMS-III index scores) correlated more moderately with Digit Symbol-Coding. Even after controlling for variance in Coding explained by Copying, a statistically significant proportion of the residual variance was explicable in terms of memory functions. The contribution of memory to Digit Symbol--Coding, while relatively small, is real. In addition, a small portion of the age-associated decline in Coding scores cannot be accounted for by Copying scores.

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