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A Real-world What-Where-When memory test

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Tom SmuldersORCiD, Tahsina Choudhury, Kyriaki Foka, Kevin Dick, Stephen Bradwel, Professor Hamish McAllister-WilliamsORCiD, Dr Peter GallagherORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by JoVE, 2017.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Episodic memory is a complex memory system which allows recall and mental re-experience of previous episodes from one’s own life. Real-life episodic memories are about events in their spatiotemporal context and are typically visuospatial, rather than verbal. Yet often, tests of episodic memory use verbal material to be recalled (word lists, stories). The Real-World What-Where-When memory test requires participants to hide a total of 16 different objects in 16 different locations over two temporal occasions, 2 hours apart. Another two hours later, they are then asked to recall which objects (What) they had hidden in which locations (Where) and on which of the two occasions (When). In addition to counting the number of correctly recalled complete what-where-when combinations, this task can also be used to test real-world spatial memory and object memory. This task is sensitive to normal cognitive aging, and correlates well with performance on other episodic memory tasks, while at the same time providing more ecological validity and being cheap and easy to run.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Smulders TV, Black-Dominique A, Choudhury TS, Constantinescu SE, Foka K, Walker TJ, Dick K, Bradwell S, McAllister-Williams RH, Gallagher P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Visualized Experiments

Year: 2017

Issue: 123

Online publication date: 16/05/2017

Acceptance date: 22/02/2017

Date deposited: 02/08/2017

ISSN (electronic): 1940-087X

Publisher: JoVE


DOI: 10.3791/55646


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