ERCIM News No.29 - April 1997

Multimedia-based Diagnosis of Human Memory Defects

by Gernoth Grunst, Ute Simon and Manfred Berndtgen

In addition to medical multimedia tutorials the project cluster GMD is also developing computer based diagnostic environments for cognitive faculties. The systems provide diagnostic tests which can be applied in clinical examinations of various neurological distortions. Usually these tests consist of 'paper and pencil' procedures. The computer in this case supports the recording and evaluation of test results. On the other hand the spectrum of test procedures is broader. Especially interactive multimedia techniques allow the integration of very natural (non-verbal) test stimuli and response modes. Spatial orien-tation in constructive tasks can be controlled through visual cues.

Target group for the tests are primarily elderly people with modest or average loss of memory. These distortions correspond with initial stages of vascular, depressive, and forms of dementia of the Alzheimer type. The tests determine type and degree of the loss.

Many test detecting human memory defects are based on graphics.

Besides neuropsychological standard tests ALOIS integrates tests taken from experimental psychology. For example spatial orientation is checked through tube figures (Shepard) with various surface textures.

The focus is on non-verbal test procedures. Besides spatial orientation the multimedia tests check logical thinking, spatial imagination, concentration, and image memory. These abilities decrease as a consequence of degenerative biological processes. They cannot be compensated through experience.

These functions can more adequately be seized in interactive multimedia tests with a direct manipulative interface (3 mouse). Presentation and retest times can easily be varied. The results, faults, and reaction times are recorded and automatically evaluated. More information on the SCENE project can be found at:

Please contact:
Gernoth Grunst - GMD
Tel: +49 2241 2346

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