Tag Archives: memory

New release: Multidimensional Everyday Memory Ratings for Youth™ (MEMRY™)

MEMRY_cover_fullThe MEMRY is the first nationally standardized rating scale specifically designed to measure memory in children, adolescents, and young adults. It measures everyday memory, learning, and executive aspects of memory, including working memory.

It provides rapid screening for memory problems in youth, an ecologically relevant assessment of memory in everyday life, and multiple perspectives about memory capacity from different raters. The MEMRY can be used to determine whether a more comprehensive evaluation is required or as a core component of a comprehensive assessment for youth suspected of memory problems.

The MEMRY:

  • Features both informant (ages 5-19 years) and self-report (ages 9-21 years) forms.
  • Includes an overall score, the Everyday Memory Index (EMI), as well as scales that tap learning, daily memory, and executive/working memory and three validity scales.
  • Allows clinicians to differentiate between problems caused by memory failures versus failures due to problems with working memory and attention, a common referral question.
  • Appropriate for use with typically developing youth, as well as individuals with suspected memory or learning problems.
  • Provides intervention recommendations based on MEMRY scores.

The MEMRY was conormed with the Child and Adolescent Memory Profile™ (ChAMP™) and the Memory Validity Profile™ (MVP), providing a full suite of memory products!

Learn more about the MEMRY today!

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Is Hypnosis Useful for Retrieving Lost Memories?

Among academics and mental health professionals, there is a widespread belief that hypnosis has the power to retrieve lost memories. In 1980, Elizabeth and Geoffrey Loftus found that 84% of psychologists and 69% of non-psychologists endorsed the statement that “memory is permanently stored in the mind” and that “with hypnosis, or other specialized techniques, these inaccessible details could eventually be recovered.”

The idea of whether people can truly forget traumatic memories has been debated for years. Early psychologists and psychiatrists such as Sigmund Freud, Joseph Breuer, and Pierre Janet also endorsed the memory-enhancing powers of hypnosis. In addition, belief in the power of hypnosis has spilled over into the mainstream with the help of TV shows, movies, and books. However, experts in general agree that “hypnosis either has no effect on memory or that it can impair and distort recall.” While people can certainly remember events they haven’t thought about for years, the issue at question is whether a special mechanism of repression exists that accounts for the forgetting of traumatic experiences.

While there are many reports of people who seem to have recovered memories of abuse through hypnosis, David Holmes reviewed 60 years of research and found no convincing laboratory evidence for repression. In his book, Remembering Trauma, psychologist Richard McNally concludes that repressed memories are “a piece of psychiatric folklore devoid of convincing empirical support.” In addition, McNally gives an alternate explanation for the recovery of repressed memories: “Children may be more confused than upset by sexual advances from a relative, yet years later recall the event with revulsion as they realize that it was, in fact, an instance of abuse.”

People sometimes forget significant life events, such as accidents and hospitalizations, even a year after they occur; therefore, a delay in the recall of events isn’t unusual. While hypnosis may not be the magic potion that uncovers traumatic memories, not all uses of hypnosis are scientifically problematic. Controlled research evidence suggests that hypnosis may be useful in pain management, treating medical conditions, eliminating habits such as smoking addiction, and as therapy for anxiety, obesity, and other conditions. Memories recalled even decades later aren’t necessarily false; however, it shouldn’t be assumed that recovered memories are valid unless corroborating evidence exists.

What do you think? Is hypnosis the real deal? PAR wants to hear from you, so leave a comment and join the conversation!

 

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Introducing the MVP!

MVP_18We are pleased to announce the release of the Memory Validity Profile™ (MVP) by Elisabeth M.S. Sherman, PhD, and Brian Brooks, PhD.

The MVP determines whether an examinee is providing valid test scores and is designed to be used in tandem with other assessments. It is the first and only performance validity test (PVT) designed for and nationally standardized on children, adolescents, and young adults ages 5-21.

The MVP is conormed with the Child and Adolescent Memory Profile™ (ChAMP™), which provides comprehensive information about learning and memory and an embedded indicator of validity.

Highlights of the MVP

  • It is the first PVT to provide age-adjusted cutoff scores to minimize false positives in younger children.
  • It has no motor requirements and can be administered to youth with motor impairments, visual impairments, developmental delays, and acquired cognitive, academic, or behavioral concerns.
  • It takes less than 10 minutes to administer and score.
  • It’s easy to learn and practical, with just one stimulus book and one record form.
  • It features colorful, engaging stimuli.

Check out the MVP Fact Sheet!

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The ChAMP is now available on the PAR Training Portal!

Interested in learning more about the new Child and Adolescent Memory Profile™ (ChAMP™)? Now you can enroll in a free training course on the ChAMP through PAR’s Training Portal. Whether you have already purchased the ChAMP and want to learn more about it or are looking for more information to help you make your purchase decision, this training course will give you a quick overview of the product, explain what makes it unique, and provide insight into how it was developed. And, best of all, the Training Portal is always available, so you can get training on your schedule.

The ChAMP, authored by renowned pediatric neuropsychology experts Elisabeth M. S. Sherman, PhD, and Brian L. Brooks, PhD, is a research-based memory assessment specifically designed to be engaging and relevant to children, adolescents, and young adults ages 5 to 21 years. Covering verbal, visual, immediate, delayed, and total memory domains in a brief, easy-to-use format, the ChAMP takes about 35 minutes to administer—and its Screening Index takes only 10 minutes.

To access the Training Portal, use your parinc.com username and password to log in. Don’t have a free account? Register now. Training courses are also available on the Vocabulary Assessment Scales™ (VAS™), the Test of General Reasoning Ability™ (TOGRA™), the Reynolds Adaptable Intelligence Test™ (RAIT™), and the Academic Achievement Battery™ (AAB™).

 

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Meet the Authors of the ChAMP, PAR’s New Memory Assessment

ChAMP coverBased on the latest advancements in memory research, the Child and Adolescent Memory Profile (ChAMP) is a fast, easy-to-administer measure that covers both verbal and visual memory domains for young examinees ages 5 to 21 years. Recently we had a chance to catch up with Elisabeth M. S. Sherman, PhD, and Brian L. Brooks, PhD, pediatric neuropsychology experts and authors of the ChAMP.

PAR: What compelled you to want to develop a memory test?

Sherman and Brooks: At the heart of it, we’re primarily clinicians who work with kids, some of whom have severe cognitive problems. Most can’t sit through lengthy tests. We could not find a memory test for kids that was easy to give, accurate, and also quick. We really developed the ChAMP because there wasn’t anything else like it out there. We hope other users like using the ChAMP, too.

PAR: How have you used memory testing in your clinical work?

Sherman and Brooks: Memory is such an important part of success in school and life. As clinicians, we evolved from giving memory tests selectively, to giving them to most children we assess. Children may have different reasons for having memory problems (i.e., developmental or acquired), but capturing their memory strengths and weaknesses allows us to better understand how to help them. Interestingly, in working with very severely affected children with neurological conditions, we realized that some kids have intact memory despite devastating cognitive conditions. The ability to detect an isolated strength in memory really gives educators and parents something tangible to use in helping those children.

PAR: How has the experience of developing a memory test been different from your other projects?

Sherman and Brooks: Developing the ChAMP was an amazing opportunity to get into the nitty-gritty of test design, planning, and execution. A lot of our other work so far has focused on reviewing, evaluating, or critiquing tests (e.g., Elisabeth is a co-author of the Compendium of Neuropsychological Tests from Oxford University Press). In the development of the ChAMP, we realized quickly that it is much easier to critique tests than to create good tests. Creating the ChAMP was a humbling but exciting process for us. It was a great opportunity to put theory into practice, with all the challenges and benefits that brings. We are excited about the ChAMP, and hope other clinicians will be, too.

To learn more about the ChAMP, please visit www.parinc.com or call 1.800.331.8378.

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Now available: The new Child and Adolescent Memory Profile (ChAMP)

PAR is delighted to announce the publication of the new Child and Adolescent Memory Profile™ (ChAMP™) by renowned pediatric neuropsychology experts Elisabeth M. S. Sherman, PhD, and Brian L. Brooks, PhD.

The ChAMP is a research-based memory assessment specifically designed to be engaging and relevant to children, adolescents, and young adults ages 5 to 21 years. Covering verbal, visual, immediate, delayed, and total memory domains in a brief, easy-to-use format, the ChAMP takes about 35 minutes to administer—and its Screening Index takes only 10 minutes. With real-life scenarios and colorful stimuli that are appealing to young examinees, ChAMP subtests are focused on learning.  Intervention recommendations for both home and school are included. And especially important for very young examinees—or for those with motor impairments—the ChAMP does not require any motor responses.

On the technical side, the ChAMP allows for in-depth analysis and monitoring through discrepancy score analysis and reliable change scores; a base rate analysis of low scores, a strengths and weakness analysis, and a built-in validity indicator are also included. The ChAMP was standardized using a normative sample of more than 1,200 participants and validated on a large clinical sample including individuals with learning disabilities, ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, brain injury, and intellectual disability.

The ChAMP is an excellent value, with complete introductory kits available for just $385. To learn more or to place an order, visit www.parinc.com or give us a call at 1.800.331.8378. We’d love to hear from you!

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Music and memory: Study suggests significant new links

The link between musical expertise and linguistic working memory has been well established in the literature. However, new research from the University of Texas at Arlington suggests that musicians may have additional memory advantages, including enhanced visual/pictorial memory and better long-term memory.

In their study, lead author Heekyeong Park, assistant professor of psychology at UT Arlington, and graduate student James Schaeffer measured the electrical activity of neurons in the brains of both musicians and non-musicians using electroencephalography (EEG) technology, noting differences in frontal and parietal lobe responses.

“Musically trained people are known to process linguistic materials a split second faster than those without training, and previous research also has shown musicians have advantages in working memory,” said Park in a recent statement. “What we wanted to know is whether there are differences between pictorial and verbal tasks and whether any advantages extend to long-term memory.”

Study participants included 14 musicians, who had been playing classical music for 15 years or more, as well as 15 non-musicians. To test working memory, participants were shown both pictorial and verbal items and then asked to identify them among a group of similar foils. At the end of the session, long-term memory was tested by asking participants to identify test items they had already encountered versus completely new items.

On the working memory tasks, the musicians outperformed non-musicians in EEG-measured neural responses. In terms of long-term memory, however, musicians performed better in memory for pictorial (nonverbal) items only. Although the study does not establish the reason for this improvement in pictorial memory, the authors speculate that learning to read music may enhance an individual’s ability to process visual cues.

Dr. Park hopes to test more musicians soon to strengthen her findings. “Our work is adding evidence that music training is a good way to improve cognitive abilities,” she says. “If proven, those advantages could represent an intervention option to explore for people with cognitive challenges.”

The researchers presented their initial results last month at Neuroscience 2014, the international meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, in Washington, D.C. To learn more about Dr. Park’s work, visit her Web page on the UT Arlington Web site.

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“Sleeping on It” May Not Be Best After Traumatic Experience

Getting a good night’s sleep is a typical recommendation during times of stress, especially after a unsettling or traumatic experience. A new study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, questions this standard thinking. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst showed 106 participants unsettling images, then showed them again 12 hours later. Subjects who stayed awake during those 12 hours had less emotional reactivity to the same stimuli than did subjects who went to sleep—particularly those who had more time in REM sleep. The same pattern was noted for recognition accuracy 12 hours later—it was better in participants who slept than in those who didn’t.  The study concludes that “sleep enhances emotional memory while preserving emotional reactivity.”

“It is common to be sleep-deprived after witnessing a traumatic scene, almost as if your brain doesn’t want to sleep on it,” said Rebecca Spencer, one of the authors of the study. In fact, going to sleep may “lock in” the negative emotions associated with the traumatic event.

Have you found this to be true in your practice? Do patients who get more rest after a negative event have a harder time recovering than those who get little sleep? Could insomnia be considered as a recommended treatment for people with PTSD?

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Meet the Author – Dr. Sarah Raskin

Why did you choose to enter the field of psychology?
I was first interested in biology and especially in the brain. In my first behavioral neuroscience class, I felt that this field took on many of the questions that had always been interesting to me. Then I was given the chance to spend a summer as an undergraduate working on a study of people with aphasia. I realized then that I was really interested in neuropsychology.

What made you decide initially to develop the Memory for Intentions Test™ (MIST™)?
In working with people who have brain injury and asking them to set goals for rehabilitation, the problem of prospective memory, or memory for intentions, kept coming up. I wanted to understand what it was about completing an intention that was difficult for people with brain injury. At the time, there was no standardized measure available.

What would you like to tell people about your product that they may not know?
I think it is very useful as a clinical measure and has the ability to discriminate between different types of prospective memory failures in different populations; the alternate form makes it useful to measure efficacy of rehabilitation. But it is also a useful research measure and has been published in a number of studies with people with different disorders.

What would you like to tell people about yourself that they may not know?
I love the theater and one of my jobs during graduate school in New York City was sewing costumes. My kids got interested in theater, and my son even convinced me to be in a community theater production with him. My daughter still does plays, but my son is now focused on playing guitar.

How do you spend your free time?
I spend as much time as I can with my two children, ages 10 and 14, and my husband. We had the wonderful experience of spending six weeks together as a family in Rome this summer while I taught a course titled “The Arts and the Brain.” I spend time volunteering in my kids’ schools or in other community activities. I love to read novels, the more tragic the better.

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