Details of the tests in Lucid Recall

Word Recall

This is a test of phonological loop functioning in which the child hears sequences of words through the computer speakers/ headphones. They are then required to recall the words in the same order in which they were presented, using the computer mouse to select (i.e. click on) the target words from within a 3 x 3 matrix of nine words on the computer screen (for example, see Figure 2). All the words in this test (target words and distractors) are common single-syllable words between three and five letters in length, selected at random from a large data set, with built-in checks to avoid rhyming or alliterative pairs.

The test begins with a demonstration of what is required, followed by four practice items, two items in which there are two words to remember, and then two items in which there are three words to remember. During these practice items the child receives aural feedback to inform them whether they were correct or incorrect.

There are then a maximum of six test items at each list length (of 2–6 words), during which no feedback is given. Each list length is regarded as a level. If four items at any particular level are recalled correctly then the program jumps to the next level, omitting the remaining one or two items in that level (which are credited to the score). The task is discontinued when three or more trials at any level are recalled incorrectly.

 

Figure 2. Example screen from the Word Recall test.

Pattern Recall

This is a test of the functioning of the visuo-spatial sketchpad in which the child sees a matrix pattern of filled (black) and unfilled (white) squares on the computer screen. When the pattern disappears they are presented with a blank matrix of all white squares and they are then required to recreate the pattern by using the computer mouse to click on the squares to be filled (for example, see Figure 3). All patterns used in this test are generated randomly.

The test begins with a demonstration of what is required, followed by four practice items, two with a matrix of four squares (2 x 2), and then two with a matrix of six squares (2 x 3). During these practice items the child receives aural feedback to inform them whether they were correct or incorrect.

There are then a maximum of six test items at each matrix size, starting with four squares and increasing by two squares per level up to a maximum of 24 squares (some matrices being necessarily irregular in shape), during which no feedback is given. Each matrix size is regarded as a level. If four items at any particular level are recalled correctly then the program jumps to the next level, omitting the remaining one or two items in that level (which are credited to the score). The task is discontinued when three or more trials at any level are recalled incorrectly.

 

Figure 3. Example screen from the Pattern Recall test.

Counting Recall

This is a test of central executive functioning that involves carrying out a sequence of between two and six independent counting tasks whilst simultaneously remembering the results of each count in the same order. In each count the child is presented with an array of different shapes, the numbers and locations of which are randomly generated, and is required to count the number of red circles, using the computer mouse to select the correct answer at the bottom of the screen (for example, see Figure 4). At the end of each item (i.e. sequence) they are asked to recall the number of red circles in each counting array, in the same order in which they were presented.

The test begins with a demonstration of what is required, followed by four practice items, two with two-count arrays, and then two with three-count arrays, during which no feedback is given. There are then a maximum of six test items at each sequence length (from two to a maximum of six counts in the sequence), during which no feedback is given. Each sequence length is regarded as a level. If four items at any particular level are recalled correctly then the program jumps to the next level, omitting the remaining one or two items in that level (which are credited to the score). The task is discontinued when three or more trials at any level are recalled incorrectly.

 

Figure 4. Example screen from Counting Recall test.