August 30, 2018 – The Cheatham Nutrition & Cognition Lab at the NRI is undertaking a new pilot study with 12- and 24-month-old children called the Memory Game Pilot Study. In this study the lab seeks to validate the props used in the elicited imitation paradigm, a nonverbal means of assessing recall memory in preverbal children. The props, which have been designed and produced in the Cheatham lab, will be implemented with a group of young children of the same ages in an already-planned, collaborative study with Emory University. But before they can be used in the main study, the feasibility and durability of the designs must be proven. This pilot study seeks to do that. All of the props have been designed so they can be used with many age groups, since they are capable of being 2-, 3-, or 4-step props.

Declarative memory abilities will be assessed using age-appropriate elicited imitation paradigms. This type of memory is supported by the medial temporal and frontal lobe structures. Three-dimensional props will be used to produce novel multi-step sequences comprised of 2 or 3 actions, dependent upon age (12 or 24 months). Participants will be tested for recall of specific sequences immediately (a measure of initial encoding) and after an age-specific delay, 10 or 20 minutes (a measure of the ability to successfully transfer information to long-term memory stores). The number of steps and the length of delays have been shown to be appropriate for these age groups.

Two hypotheses will be tested to validate the newly-designed props for 12- and 24-month old children. Hypothesis 1: The 2-step props and the 10-minute delay will be able to show differences in declarative memory abilities between 12-month-old participants. Analyses will not result in a floor or ceiling effect. Hypothesis 2: The 3-step props and the 20-minute delay will be able to show differences in declarative memory abilities between 24-month-old participants, i.e. no ceiling or floor effect.

To see if your child qualifies for this study, click here.

Post: August 30, 2018