Saul Sternberg, an American psychologist, determined that by performing a certain “memory scan,” one could determine how one processed cognitive information. In 1966, he developed what is referred to as the Sternberg Memory Scan test, which tests the way one visually processes information and determines how well they react to recalling information and data in their working, or short-term, memory.
Coined the Sternberg Memory Scan, this scan involved testing patients on their short-term memory recall. Their reaction time would determine their cognitive abilities, and could thus allow one to determine if someone was suffering from a mental illness or disorder. Sternberg would give patients a number of digits to memorize and would test the reaction time needed for them to recall the number from their memory. By dividing the response time by the number of digits were displayed for them to remember, Sternberg was able to determine one’s cognitive ability and their short-term memory recall.
Although other methods are typically used in order to diagnose mental disorders that cause memory loss, Sternberg’s research with his memory scan has opened up more research and development in terms of mental and cognitive abilities. By determining how one uses their short-term memory, one can detect mental disabilities over a period of time. Developed in 1966, this memory scan is still evaluated today by psychologists around the world.