Psychometric Properties of the Persian Word Pairs Task to Evaluate Declarative Memory

Basic Clin Neurosci. 2022 Jul-Aug;13(4):511-518. doi: 10.32598/bcn.2021.2585.1. Epub 2022 Jul 1.


Introduction: According to the declarative/procedural (DP) model, the semantic aspect of language depends on the brain structures responsible for declarative memory. The word pairs task is a common tool to evaluate declarative memory. The current study aimed to design a valid and reliable task to evaluate declarative memory in Persian-speaking children at the learning and retention stages and investigate its relationship with the semantic aspect of language.

Methods: A panel of experts agreed on the content validity of the proposed task. The reliability of the task was determined using internal consistency and test-retest reliability. A total of 31 typically developing children aged 7-9 years participated in this study.

Results: The content validity of all the 42-word pairs was calculated as one. The test-retest reliability showed a correlation coefficient of 0.825 (P<0.001). The task showed acceptable internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha 0.880). The results of correlation analysis showed no significant relationship between declarative memory and semantic aspect. However, the regression analysis showed that the retention stage can explain 24.2% of the variations in the semantic aspect.

Conclusion: It seems that the word pairs task has good validity and reliability to evaluate declarative memory. The task applied to evaluate the semantic aspect can be one of the potential causes of the lack of a relationship between the semantic aspect and declarative memory. The participants' scores in the retention stage can be predicted concerning their performance at the semantic aspect.

Highlights: The proposed task has several advantages as follows:Good validity and reliability to evaluate different stages of declarative memory, including learning, immediate recall, delayed recall, delayed recognition, and retention.Children's performance improves with age at different stages of the task.Subjects' performance in the retention stage of declarative memory was the only component predicting the score of the semantic aspect.

Plain language summary: One of the components of long-term memory is declarative memory. This memory includes the semantic memory in which information about vocabulary is stored. In this research, the word pairs task was designed to evaluate declarative memory in children aged 7 to 9 years and its validity and reliability were investigated. The final task consists of 42 unrelated word pairs that are presented to children in several stages, and it examines the ability of children to communicate between pairs of unrelated words in terms of meaning (e.g., book-teeth). The better the children's performance in this task is, it indicates the better performance of these children's declarative memory. The task has good validity and reliability and can be used to evaluate children's declarative memory and to determine changes after introducing declarative memory improvement techniques.

Keywords: Content validity; Declarative memory; Semantic; Word pairs task.