A SLOWLY rotating Archimedes spiral appears to expand or contract, depending upon the direction of rotation. The opposite movement (negative after-effect) is experienced when the rotating spiral is stopped and the gaze is transferred to any other fixed object. Freeman and Josey1 reported on this phenomenon as a possible measurement of memory impairment. They based their study upon the assumption that normal subjects would experience the negative after-effect while psychotic subjects would not, and would not to the degree that their memory was impaired. Their criterion of memory impairment was clinical judgment. No statistical treatment was given the data, but the authors concluded that there was a "strong probability of correlation between the negative after-effect of the Plateau [Archimedes] spiral and the impairment of memory."
The advantage of such a simply administered, nonverbal test of memory impairment is obvious. The present experiment was designed to test Freeman and
STANDLEE LS. VALIDITY OF ARCHIMEDES SPIRAL IN DISCRIMINATING MEMORY ABILITY OF PSYCHOTICS AND OF NORMALS. AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1954;71(5):648–650. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1954.02320410110012
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.