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Infant Assessment Unit - Visual Recognition Memory Paradigm


Infant Assessment Unit - Visual Recognition Memory Paradigm


The Infant Assessment Unit (IAU) was part of the Longitudinal Cohort Study. The objective of the IAU was to observe how prenatal and postnatal conditions affect the health and cognitive functioning of infants during the first year of life. Consisting of several instruments, the IAU sought to measure infant cognition and quantify the experiences of the sampled infants from Cohort 0 during their first 12 months of life. Additionally, the IAU examined the circumstances surrounding the mother's pregnancy and the subsequent care received by the infant. The IAU was administered to subjects or primary caregivers in Cohort 0 only in Wave 1 of the LCS.

The Visual Recognition Memory (VRM) Paradigm (PDF 1.9MG) was included in the IAU to evaluate the subject's visual information processing, an aspect of infant cognition correlated with later childhood IQ and development of perceptual speed, language, and memory. The VRM Paradigm was administered at the respondent's home and consisted of the interviewer presenting the infant with visual stimulus cards and observing the subject's eye movements. Various trials were conducted, and the results were coded and recorded on a laptop computer in addition to being videotaped. Before the pictures were presented to the participants, the procedure was explained to the primary caregiver (PC). The PC was then asked to hold the baby 18 inches from a picture on a stage and not to offer any cues to the baby such as pointing, though they were asked to make sure the baby was as comfortable as possible. The research assistant (RA) then demonstrated how the picture would be held on the stage. The baby was presented with two identical pictures until he/she had looked at the picture for a certain amount of time (20 seconds for photos of faces; 10 seconds for geometric designs). The familiar picture was then paired with a novel picture for two trials; the left-right position of the picture was changed between trials. The RA observed the direction of the infant's eye movement, and recorded the direction (left or right) on the laptop computer program.

The IAU data contain an additional VRM file that provides summary data for the various trials conducted for the VRM Paradigm.


Rose, S.A., Feldman, J.F., & Wallace, I.F. (1988). Individual differences in infant information processing: Reliability, stability, and prediction. Child Development, 59, 1177-1197.

Related Internet Resources

Rose, et. al cited article at JSTOR

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Shaded boxes indicate that the measure is not available for a given wave/cohort.

Wave Cohort
0 3 6 9 12 15 18

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