Vol. 2 nº 4 - Oct/Nov/Dec de 2008
Original Article Páginas: 310 a 314

Immediate recall of short stories depends on educational level

Authors Ricardo Nitrini


keywords: memory, Alzheimer's disease, mild cognitive impairment, logical memory, education, neuropsychological tests.

Memory complaints are frequent in the elderly but the confirmation of memory decline is challenging. Tests employing the recall of paragraphs or short stories have been proposed for the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and amnestic mild cognitive impairment. Objectives: To evaluate the influence of educational level on immediate recall of short stories. Methods: A sample of 363 individuals (214 women; median age of 50; median years of schooling of 6; 23 illiterates) without evident physical or mental illnesses were evaluated with simple neuropsychological tests, including the recall of short stories immediately after listening to them read aloud by the examiner. Results: Age showed an inverse correlation whereas years of schooling showed a direct correlation with the scores on the immediate recall of short stories. As age and years of schooling were inversely correlated, logistic regression was employed, which showed that only years of schooling had an influence on the performance in the test. Conclusions: In populations with heterogeneous educational background, the recall of short stories cannot be recommended for the diagnosis of memory impairment. It is possible that tests with larger encoding phases are more appropriate for these populations. From a broader perspective, information released by radio or TV, as well as information disseminated orally in public settings such as hospitals, stations or airports may be less well retained by low educated individuals, especially when the information is presented only once.


Home Contact