What Is a Visual Memory Test?

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  • Written By: Alicia Sparks
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 07 October 2019
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A visual memory test is any kind of test that requires information recall based on the images shown during the test. Generally, a visual memory test is designed to test and possibly strengthen information processing, storage, and recall. A person looks at an image or set of images, and then provides details about the images. Such tests are available in a wide variety of formats appropriate for various groups of people based on ages and intellectual levels. Perhaps because of their wide variety of adaptable styles, visual memory tests often are used for a number of personal and professional purposes.

Possibly some of the simplest, most easily recognizable examples of visual memory tests are the matching games common among children. Regardless of exact design, all these tests typically follow the same simple format. Such a visual memory test uses either tangible cards or a computer program to lay out a number of cards face down. Each card has a match, or an exact replica, and the game requires the player to flip over one card at a time, look at it, and flip it back over. After flipping over several cards, the player builds his information storage and recall, and becomes able to find the matches to the cards he flips over.


Another common example of a visual memory test includes one that requires the tester to look at one image for a certain period of time. Once the image is removed, the tester tries to recall all the details about the image he can remember. Another version involves showing the user a particular image, removing the image, and then showing a similar but not exact image. When he views the similar image, the user is to point out the differences between that image and the original image. Typically, these tests are more complicated than their card game cousins, as the images often present much more intricate and involved details.

People use visual memory tests for a number of reasons. Sometimes, a visual memory test is meant for fun or just to pass time, regardless of the users’ ages. Other times, these tests are used to measure and possibly strengthen various types of memory, including the users’ abilities to store, process, and recall information. In these situations, a visual memory test might be used for everyone from young children testing into school to elderly adults showing signs of cognition problems. Certain professions that depend on memory recall opt to use visual memory tests both during the application and hiring process and throughout the course of the employees’ careers.


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