Tests > Spatial Span

Spatial Span

Spatial short-term memory is the cognitive system allowing for temporary storage of spatial information. Spatial Span challenges the patient’s ability to remember the relationships between objects in space, as opposed to verbally rehearsing items in specific order, which relies on verbal short-term memory.

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How to take the Spatial Span Test

A grid of boxes appears on the screen. The patient’s job is to pay attention when the boxes begin flashing in sequence, then click the boxes in the same sequence. If correct, the next sequence will be one box longer. Performance is indicated by the average number of boxes remembered during the task.

The history of Spatial Span

The computerized version of Spatial Span is based on the Corsi block tapping task—a widely-used neuropsychological tool that involved asking patients to tap wooden blocks in the same order that an administrator did. It has been used to assess non-verbal memory deficits; patients with damage to the parieto-occipital parts of their brains show impaired performance on this task.

Spatial Span in
the real world

The “visuospatial sketch pad” that Spatial Planning relies on is also crucial in many everyday tasks, such as driving, following directions, giving directions, searching for a lost item, or learning a new dance move.

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