Normal aging and forgetting rates on the wechsler memory scale-revised

C. Munro Cullum, Nelson Butters, Alexander I. Tröster, David P. Salmon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The deleterious effects of aging on various cognitive abilities are widely recognized, yet little is known regarding what constitutes "normal" memory test performance in individuals over the age of 74. In this study, forgetting rates for verbal and nonverbal material from the Wechsler Memory Scale-Revised (WMS-R) were examined in groups of older healthy individuals, age 50-70 and 75-95. Despite equivalent scores on measures of global cognitive status and attention/ concentration, the older group demonstrated significantly more rapid forgetting rates on the Visual Reproduction, Verbal Paired Associates, and Visual Paired Associates subtests of the WMS-R. Although patients with Alzheimer's disease also evidence very rapid forgetting on some subtests, the severity and pattern of losses appears useful in differentiating "abnormal" forgetting from that exhibited by normal elderly subjects. Preliminary normative data for normal elderly subjects on the WMS-R are presented, and the need for appropriate norms for elderly individuals is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-30
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Clinical Neuropsychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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