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Cognitive Screening Using a Tape Recorder: A Pilot Study


Address correspondence to Peter W. Schofield, MD, Neuropsychiatry Service, Hunter Mental Health Service, 72 Watt Street, PO Box 833, Newcastle NSW 2300, Australia. E-mail:


OBJECTIVES:  To determine whether a tape recorder can be used to administer cognitive tests efficiently and yield valid results.

DESIGN:   Convenience sample. Administration of cognitive test materials by tape recorder and conventional technique.

SETTING:   Outpatient clinic.

PARTICIPANTS:   Subjects from memory disorder clinic, hostel accommodation, and community.

MEASUREMENTS:   Responses to Hopkins Verbal Learning Test–revised, verbal fluency items from the controlled oral word association test, 10-item naming task, a construction task, and speed writing task.

RESULTS:   Performances on the tape- and clinician-administered battery of tests were highly correlated. Memory impairment was accurately detected using the tape battery. Data from 30 minutes of testing via tape were obtained at the cost to the clinician of 2 to 3 minutes of scoring time.

CONCLUSION:   Tape-administration of cognitive test material warrants further study as an efficient means of cognitive screening.