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Assessment. 2008 Dec;15(4):426-34. doi: 10.1177/1073191108315611. Epub 2008 May 15.

The backward span of the Corsi Block-Tapping Task and its association with the WAIS-III Digit Span.

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Department of Geriatric Medicine, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


The Corsi Block-Tapping Task measures visuospatial short-term and working memory, but a standardized backward condition is lacking. The authors present a standardized backward procedure that was examined in 246 healthy older adults (ages 50 to 92), comparing the results with the Digit Span subtest of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale--Third Edition. Principal component analysis resulted in a two-factor model, dissociating a verbal and a spatial working-memory factor. Also the Corsi backward is not more difficult than the Corsi forward, in contrast to the Digit Span backward that is more difficult than the Digit Span forward. This may suggest that the Corsi Block-Tapping Task backward task relies on processing within working-memory's slave systems, whereas the Digit Span backward also relies on the central executive component of working memory. Finally, regression-based normative data and cutoff scores for older adults are presented for use in clinical practice.

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