Three-word recall in normal aging

Melanie J. Chandler, Laura H. Lacritz, Antionette R. Cicerello, Sandra B. Chapman, Lawrence S. Honig, Myron F. Weiner, C. Munro Cullum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Three-word recall tasks are widely used as brief measures of verbal memory function, although interpretation of performance is complicated by variations in test instructions and procedures. The purpose of this study was to examine 3-word recall performance in samples of healthy subjects aged 52-75 (M age = 70) and age 76-92 (M age = 82) compared to patients with Alzheimer's Disease (AD) when explicit prompts to remember the words were given. Those in the younger aging group remembered significantly more words than those in the older sample after a brief delay (M = 2.8 and 2.3, respectively). However, the majority of control subjects recalled 2 or 3 words after the delay, with only 3% of the 50-75 year old group and 17% of the 76+ year old group recalling 0 or 1 word on delayed recall. This is in stark contrast to the 87% of individuals with AD who recalled 0 or 1 word. Even though 3-word recall performance decreases with age, good recall (2 or 3 words) can be expected in most cases of normal aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1128-1133
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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