COSMIN database

The use of standardised short-term and working memory tests in aphasia research: a systematic review

Murray, L., Salis, C., Martin, N., and Dralle, J.
Impairments of short-term and working memory (STM, WM), both verbal and non-verbal, are ubiquitous in aphasia. Increasing interest in assessing STM and WM in aphasia research and clinical practice as well as a growing evidence base of STM/WM treatments for aphasia warrant an understanding of the range of standardised STM/WM measures that have been utilised in aphasia. To date, however, no previous systematic review has focused on aphasia. Accordingly, the goals of this systematic review were: (1) to identify standardised tests of STM and WM utilised in the aphasia literature, (2) to evaluate critically the psychometric strength of these tests, and (3) to appraise critically the quality of the investigations utilising these tests. Results revealed that a very limited number of standardised tests, in the verbal and non-verbal domains, had robust psychometric properties. Standardisation samples to elicit normative data were often small, and most measures exhibited poor validity and reliability properties. Studies using these tests inconsistently documented demographic and aphasia variables essential to interpreting STM/WM test outcomes. In light of these findings, recommendations are provided to foster, in the future, consistency across aphasia studies and confidence in STM/WM tests as assessment and treatment outcome measures.
Neuropsychol Rehabil
1464-0694 (Electronic); 0960-2011 (Linking)
Publication year:
Functional status:
Cognitive/mental functioning
Adults (18-65)
Seniors (65+)
Diseases of and symptoms related to the circulatory system
Diseases of and symptoms related to the nervous system
Injury, poisoning and certain other consequences of external causes
Neoplasms and related symptoms
PRO / non-PRO:
Non-patient Reported Outcome
Type of measurement instrument:
4 - Performance-based tests
6 - Clinical rating scales
ACL - Aphasia Check List
Block Tapping
CAT - Comprehensive Aphasia Test
CLQT - Cognitive Linguistic Quick Test
CNS Vital Signs Memory Test – immediate condition
Design Recognition
Digit Matching Span
Digit Span – matching order
Digit Span -pointing
Digit Span – spoken recall
DMS-48 – immediate recognition
Elevator Counting With Distraction
Elevator Counting with Reversal
Eye Movement WM - Eye Movement Working Memory test
Figure or Shape Drawing – immediate recall
Listening Span – by spoken recall
Listening Span – by written recognition
Non-word Span
Picture Span
Pointing Span
RAVLT - Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test
Sentence Comprehension
Square Span (both forward and backward recall)
TEA - Test of Everyday Attention
TT - Token Test (versions: TT-R)
Visual Elevator
Visuo-spatial Span
WAIS - Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (versions: WAIS-I; WAIS-II; WAIS-III; WAIS-IV; WAIS-R)
Wechsler Memory Scales - (WMS-R, WMS-III, WMS-IV)
Word Span tests ( possible are: Word Span – matching order; Word Span – short words; Word Span – long words; Word Span – phonological similarity; Word Span -recognition; Word Span – probe)