Date of Award


Degree Type




First Advisor

Poreh, Amir

Subject Headings

Neuropsychology, Memory, Alcohol -- Physiological effect, Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test, Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure Test, Non-Verbal Ability Tests


Neuropsychological performance was measured in chronic alcoholics who maintained abstinence for at least six months and with matched controls. Specifically, measures of verbal memory were assessed utilizing the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT) and measures of nonverbal memory with the Rey Osterreith Complex Figure Test (ROCF) and a new measure, the Poreh Nonverbal Memory Test (PNMT). In addition, both the RAVLT and the PNMT provide a measure of operationalized learning, as they are multi-trial tasks utilizing five trials to assess recall in each trial. Verbal memory includes the ability to encode, store and retrieve information for words, language and verbal stimuli. Nonverbal memory reflects the ability to encode, store and retrieve information that is visual and spatial in nature. It is devoid of verbal components and includes abstract designs or nonsense figures. Currently, there are questions as to the validity of many nonverbal memory measures because they allow for sub-vocalization of the tasks thereby utilizing verbal mediation (Wisniewski, Wendling, Manning & Steinhoff, 2012). The present study assessed for differences in verbal and nonverbal memory in abstinent alcoholics and predicted that they would perform more poorly on nonverbal measures while verbal memory would remain intact. Additionally, a comparison of learning curves was examined for each group. Finally, the PNMT was validated by correlating with a current neuropsychological assessment of memory and learning, the RAVLT, and a nonverbal neuropsychological assessment, the ROCF. Results indicated that the abstinent alcoholics differed significantly in nonverbal measurements depending upon the complexity of the tasks. Concerning verbal tasks, there was no significant difference in results across the groups. However, the length of alcohol dependence did significantly predict performance on the RAVLT recognition task indicating possible frontal lobe deficits and disordered recall. Correlational analyses indicate that the utility

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Psychology Commons