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Assume a certain sequence of N characters, displayed on a screen one by one, that should be memorized. The speed of the display is such that it doesn't produce much extra stress. You may assume that the test person might vary display speed within a reasonable range.

There are several ways to test memory:

  1. a multiple choice format that presents several control sequences
  2. a control sequence where you should point out differences from a given sequence
  3. a control sequence, displayed character by character, and the opportunity to push a button as soon as you spot a difference
  4. just write down what you've memorized

Do these different ways of testing activate different parts of the brain? If so, where in the brain do these differences occur?

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1 Answer 1

The quality to which such a test would measure is Memory span. Its part of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale.

Functionally, memory span appears to measure the number of discrete units over which the individual can successively distribute his attention and still organize them into a working unit. To generalize, memory span refers to the ability of an individual to reproduce immediately, after one presentation, a series of discrete stimuli in their original order. Practically any sort of material may be presented, such as digits, letters, words, and sounds, and almost any sense organ or combination of sense organs may be used to receive the impressions.

-wikipedia Memory span

I think all these test word work on general working memory which uses the posterior parietal cortex, the thalamus, the caudate, and the globus pallidus.As far as I know Science is not accurately able to qualify anything closer to that at this time.

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Why all the downvotes? BTW: +1 –  draks ... Feb 11 '14 at 22:41

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