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Tests > Paired Associates

Paired Associates

Paired Associates assesses Episodic memory, which is the ability to remember and recall specific events, paired with the context in which they occured. Paired Associates tests episodic memory by asking patients to remember which objects they previously saw, along with the location where they were seen.

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How to take the Paired Associates Test

A set of boxes appear on the screen. They will open, one after the other, revealing the objects inside. The patient must remember which object appeared in which box. Next, one at a time, objects appear in the center of the screen, and patients must point out which box each object was located in. The number of boxes increases with correct answers, and performance is indicated by the average number of boxes correctly remembered.

The history of Paired Associates

The skill of paired-associate learning refers to associating one item in memory (such as the type of object) with another remembered feature (such as the object’s location). This core facet of memory requires the lateral and medial frontoparietal and occipital regions of the brain. Paired Associates is a computerized version of previous paired-associate learning tests that can scale up in difficulty according to the patient’s performance. We have found that harder problems lead to increased activation in the same brain regions as easier problems, rather than recruiting different regions.

Paired Associates in
the real world

The paired-associate learning is required whenever you link up two items in memory—such as the type of object and its location. That can be useful when trying to find something you stuffed in a box in the basement, but it is also linked with different types of pairing. For example, when you learn new words, you have to pair the word itself with its meaning. That’s why optimizing performance on Paired Associates may have wide-ranging effects beyond simple memory tasks.

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