Saturday, October 22, 2011

Neuropsychology Abstract of the Day: Visuocognition

The Cambridge Car Memory Test: A task matched in format to the Cambridge Face Memory Test, with norms, reliability, sex differences, dissociations from face memory, and expertise effects
Behav Res Methods. 2011 Oct 20;
Dennett HW, McKone E, Tavashmi R, Hall A, Pidcock M, Edwards M, Duchaine B

Abstract

Many research questions require a within-class object recognition task matched for general cognitive requirements with a face recognition task. If the object task also has high internal reliability, it can improve accuracy and power in group analyses (e.g., mean inversion effects for faces vs. objects), individual-difference studies (e.g., correlations between certain perceptual abilities and face/object recognition), and case studies in neuropsychology (e.g., whether a prosopagnosic shows a face-specific or object-general deficit). Here, we present such a task. Our Cambridge Car Memory Test (CCMT) was matched in format to the established Cambridge Face Memory Test, requiring recognition of exemplars across view and lighting change. We tested 153 young adults (93 female). Results showed high reliability (Cronbach's alpha = .84) and a range of scores suitable both for normal-range individual-difference studies and, potentially, for diagnosis of impairment. The mean for males was much higher than the mean for females. We demonstrate independence between face memory and car memory (dissociation based on sex, plus a modest correlation between the two), including where participants have high relative expertise with cars. We also show that expertise with real car makes and models of the era used in the test significantly predicts CCMT performance. Surprisingly, however, regression analyses imply that there is an effect of sex per se on the CCMT that is not attributable to a stereotypical male advantage in car expertise.

PMID: 22012343 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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