Research articles

By Dr. Simon B Thompson , Ms. Holly Chinnery
Corresponding Author Dr. Simon B Thompson
Psychology Research Centre, Bournemouth University, - United Kingdom BH12 5BB
Submitting Author Dr. Simon B Thompson
Other Authors Ms. Holly Chinnery
Psychology Research Centre, Bournemouth University, - United Kingdom BH12 5BB


Alzheimer's Disease, Benton Visual Retention Test, Dementia, Diagnosis, Intelligence Quotient, Memory; NART, Prognosis, Stroke, Visual Spatial Deficits

Thompson SB, Chinnery H. Normative Values for 18-30 Age Group of Benton Visual Retention Test Scores and Pre-morbid Intelligence Quotients: New Data Comparisons for Diagnosing Memory and Visual Spatial Deficits in Alzheimer's Disease and Stroke. WebmedCentral BRAIN 2011;2(5):WMC001918
doi: 10.9754/journal.wmc.2011.001918
Submitted on: 06 May 2011 01:02:18 PM GMT
Published on: 07 May 2011 02:04:28 PM GMT


The Benton Visual Retention Test (BVRT) is a well known test used to assess visual memory deficits and visual spatial abilities in patients. Normative data for the 18-30 age group is not presently covered thoroughly; hence, this study continues the work of previous series that examined data comprising BVRT scores, intelligence quotients (IQ), anxiety and depression levels, and gender effects. Correlations between pre-morbid estimates of IQ across different BVRT administrations were examined and discussed in order to compile a database of new data comparisons for this age group.


This study was further progression of previous series that examined the use of the Benton Visual Retention Test (BVRT) (Benton, 1974; Benton Sivan, 1992) for the assessment of visual memory functioning and visual spatial ability (see Thompson, Ennis, Coffin & Farman, 2007; Thompson & Gander, 2011). The aim of the study was to create a comprehensive database of normative data collected from using the BVRT in participants aged between 18 and 30 years old. Previously, no normative data existed for BVRT performance for this particular age group apart from that collected from the earlier series (Thompson & Gander, 2011) and the extensive data collected across all other age groups (Benton, 1946; Benton, Eslinger & Damasio, 1981). Data has been combined from this previous study in order to construct a comprehensive data set for reference by examiners of patients with a range of memory deficits.
The normative standard section of the BVRT manual states that performance on the three parallel administrations of the BVRT correlate substantially with intelligence level (Benton Sivan, 1992). Therefore, correlations were carried out across our data to determine comparisons.
The importance of the BVRT for particular clinical groups has been well established and documented elsewhere (Thompson, Ennis, Coffin & Farman, 2007; Thompson & Gander, 2011). In clinical settings the BVRT is often administered to determine the extent and type of visual spatial disability and visual memory deficit by way of categories of errors according to misplacement, substitution, omission, rotation, etc. This provides valuable information to the examiner especially if the patient has developed a stroke with a certain perceptual difficulty on one side of the body. It has also been a useful instrument in the neuropsychological assessment battery for the diagnosis and prognosis of Alzheimer?s disease (Thompson, 2006; 2011a,b).

Methods and Materials

The aim of this study is to gain a set of normative data for performance on the BVRT for normal individuals aged between 18 and 30 years old.
Benton Visual Retention Test
The BVRT has 3 similar (parallel) forms of task C, D and E, each consisting of 10 designs containing one or more figures. In this study, 3 types of administration were used: A ? showing the images for 10 seconds then requiring immediate reproduction of the images from memory; B ? showing the images for 5 seconds followed by immediate reproduction; and C ? showing the images for 10 seconds, then delaying participants? reproduction of the figures after a further 15 seconds. Only two different versions were used: C and E. Therefore, these conditions were listed as: A(C), A(E), B(C), B(E), C(C) and C(E).
In order to establish an estimate of pre-morbid IQ, the National Adult Reading Test (Nelson, 1992) is often administered. Benton Sivan (1992) shows BVRT scores together with pre-morbid IQs; hence, this study has collected similar data.
The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (Snaith & Zigmond, 1994) was used to establish baseline anxiety and depression levels of each participant. It is known the high levels of anxiety and/or depression can affect memory functioning.
Experimental hypotheses
Based on previous experimental series, the following hypotheses were used:
H1 There will be a significant relationship between NART scores and Total Errors score and Total Correct scores on the BVRT.
H2 There will be a significant relationship between NART scores and Total Errors score and Total Correct scores across the three administrations A, B, C.
H3 There will be a significant relationship between Total Errors score and Total Correct scores on the BVRT and Anxiety and Depression scores on the HADS.
study design
In order to determine if age or gender had any significant influence on the data collected, a 3 x 2 unrelated ANOVA was implemented to investigate a significant difference in performance on the BVRT between genders and age groups. The first independent variable was gender, which had two levels, Males and Females. The second independent variable was age group, and was split into 3 levels, 18-20 (mode = 19, median = 19), 21-33 (mode = 21, median = 21), and 24-27 (mode 26, median = 26). The dependent variables were Total Errors score and Total Correct score.
Fifty undergraduate students attending Bournemouth University were recruited on a volunteer basis. Fourteen were male, 36 were female. Prior to the study, ethics approval was obtained from Bournemouth University Research & Ethics Committee (November 2009) and consent was obtained from each participant according to strict ethical guidelines.


Spearman's Rank Order correlation was used to determine the relationship between NART scores with Anxiety and also with Depression, as assessed by the HADS. No statistical evidence was found between these measures thus refuting H3 (NART plus Anxiety: r = - .137, n = 53, p > .05 two tailed; and NART plus Depression: r = - .219, n = 53, p > .05 two tailed).
No statistical evidence was found between the NART and Total Correct scores on administration A of the BVRT (r = - .125, n = 53, p > .05 two tailed) and also Total Errors scores (r = .113, n = 53, p > .05 two tailed). However, significant evidence of a negative correlation was found between the NART and BVRT Total Correct scores on administration B (r = - .318, n = 53, p
A significant positive correlation at .05 level was found between NART and BVRT Errors scores on administration B (r = .318, n = 53, p < .05 two tailed). A further positive correlation at .01 level was found between the NART and BVRT Errors scores on administration C (r = .376, n = 53, p < .01 one tailed) (Illustration 1).
A reasonable relationship between NART scores and BVRT Total Correct and Total Error scores on administration B (Illustrations 2 & 3) and administration C (Illustrations 4 & 5) were observed.
A table of statistical comparisons is presented showing support for H1 and H2 (Illustrations 6 & 7).

Discussion & Conclusions

The results obtained from this study support hypotheses H1 and H2 and refute H3. Hence, there are significant correlations between the NART scores and administrations of the BVRT. This allows researchers to refer to the database of correlations for the 18 ? 30 age group. It also allows clinicians to examine patients in these age ranges; previously, this test was constrained due to the lack of comprehensive data in this domain.
Clinical disorders span all age ranges; therefore, it is important to have normative data across the lifespan. By building a picture of abilities across ages, we are in a better position to judge whether or not the patient we are examining is performing below,? above or within their comparable age range. The picture of Alzheimer?s disease and vascular dementia is complicated (Thompson, 2002; Thompson, 2011c), and if we can make sense of people?s abilities across ages then we are better placed to understand the effects of diseases such as the dementias.


1. Benton, A.L., 1946. A visual retention test for clinical use. New York, The Psychological Corporation.
2. Benton, A.L., 1974. Revised Visual Retention Test: clinical and experimental applications. 4th ed. San Antonio, The Psychological Corporation.
3. Benton Sivan, A., 1992. Benton Visual Retention Test. 5th ed. San Antonio, The Psychological Corporation.
4. Benton, A.L., Eslinger, P.J., & Damasio, A.R., 1981. Normative observations on neuropsychological test performances in old age. Journal of Clinical Neuropsychology, 3, 33-42.
5.Nelson, R., 1992. National Adult Reading Test. Revised. Manual. Oxford, NFER-NELSON.
6. Snaith, R.P., & Zigmond, A.S., 1994. Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 67, 361-370.
7. Thompson, S.B.N., 2002. Memory decline, Alzheimer?s disease and vascular dementia: the clinical picture. Journal of Cognitive Rehabilitation, 20(2), 12-18.
8. Thompson, S.B.N., 2006. Dementia and memory: a handbook for students and professionals. Aldershot, Ashgate.
9. Thompson, S.B.N., 2011a. Psychology of trauma: clinical reviews, case histories, research. Portsmouth, Blackwell-Harvard-Academic.
10. Thompson, S.B.N., 2011b. Advancing knowledge into the clinical assessment of dementia. Extensive review and design of a neuropsychological test battery for assessment.? Saarbr?ken, Lambert Academic Publishing GmbH & Co. KG.
11. Thompson, S.B.N., 2011c. Alzheimer?s disease: comprehensive aetiology, diagnosis, assessment recommendations and treatment. WebmedCentral AGING, 2(3), 1-42.
12. Thompson, S.B.N., Ennis, E., Coffin, T., & Farman, S., 2007. Design and evaluation of a computerised version of the Benton Visual Retention Test. Computers in Human Behavior, 23, 2383-2393.
13. Thompson, S.B.N., & Gander, J., 2011. Immediate memory functioning and intelligence quotients of 18-30 years age group using new data derived from the Benton Visual Retention Test: applicability to Alzheimer?s disease patients. WebmedCentral GERIATRIC MEDICINE, 2(3), 1-28.

Source(s) of Funding


Competing Interests



This article has been downloaded from WebmedCentral. With our unique author driven post publication peer review, contents posted on this web portal do not undergo any prepublication peer or editorial review. It is completely the responsibility of the authors to ensure not only scientific and ethical standards of the manuscript but also its grammatical accuracy. Authors must ensure that they obtain all the necessary permissions before submitting any information that requires obtaining a consent or approval from a third party. Authors should also ensure not to submit any information which they do not have the copyright of or of which they have transferred the copyrights to a third party.
Contents on WebmedCentral are purely for biomedical researchers and scientists. They are not meant to cater to the needs of an individual patient. The web portal or any content(s) therein is neither designed to support, nor replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her physician. Your use of the WebmedCentral site and its contents is entirely at your own risk. We do not take any responsibility for any harm that you may suffer or inflict on a third person by following the contents of this website.

2 reviews posted so far

Normative values ...
Posted by Ms. Natalie Jones on 15 May 2011 08:41:18 PM GMT

"Normative Values for18-30"..................
Posted by Mr. Brian Thompson on 08 May 2011 02:35:22 PM GMT

0 comments posted so far

Please use this functionality to flag objectionable, inappropriate, inaccurate, and offensive content to WebmedCentral Team and the authors.


Author Comments
0 comments posted so far


What is article Popularity?

Article popularity is calculated by considering the scores: age of the article
Popularity = (P - 1) / (T + 2)^1.5
P : points is the sum of individual scores, which includes article Views, Downloads, Reviews, Comments and their weightage

Scores   Weightage
Views Points X 1
Download Points X 2
Comment Points X 5
Review Points X 10
Points= sum(Views Points + Download Points + Comment Points + Review Points)
T : time since submission in hours.
P is subtracted by 1 to negate submitter's vote.
Age factor is (time since submission in hours plus two) to the power of 1.5.factor.

How Article Quality Works?

For each article Authors/Readers, Reviewers and WMC Editors can review/rate the articles. These ratings are used to determine Feedback Scores.

In most cases, article receive ratings in the range of 0 to 10. We calculate average of all the ratings and consider it as article quality.

Quality=Average(Authors/Readers Ratings + Reviewers Ratings + WMC Editor Ratings)