Relational and item-specific encoding (RISE): Task development and psychometric characteristics

John D Ragland, Charan Ranganath, Deanna M. Barch, James M. Gold, Brittaney Haley, Angus W. MacDonald, Steven M. Silverstein, Milton E. Strauss, Andrew P. Yonelinas, Cameron S Carter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Objectives: The Relational and Item-Specific Encoding task (RISE) was designed to assess contributions of specific encoding and retrieval processes to episodic memory in schizophrenia. This manuscript describes how a cognitive neuroscience functional imaging paradigm was translated for clinical research. Methods: The RISE manipulates encoding by requiring participants to decide whether stimuli are "living/nonliving" (item-specific) or whether one stimulus fits inside the other (relational) and estimates familiarity (F) and recollection (R) by examining receiver operator characteristics (ROC) and assessing item and associative recognition. Two studies examined psychometric characteristics and tested the hypothesis that patients have differential deficits in relational vs item-specific encoding and disproportionate impairments in recollection vs familiarity. Results: Study 1, using visual objects, provided support for the encoding hypotheses and revealed good internal consistency and alternate forms reliability, with small differences between test forms. ROC analysis revealed R and F deficits, with F deficits most prominent following relational encoding. Study 2 used word stimuli, which lowered item recognition, but patients had difficulty understanding task demands, and words were less desirable for non-English speaking clinical trials, leading to the decision to proceed with the original task. Conclusions: The RISE is a valid and reliable measure of item-specific and relational memory that is well tolerated, with good psychometric characteristics and equivalent forms to facilitate treatment studies. Results indicate that episodic memory in schizophrenia is most preserved under conditions promoting item-specific encoding that is supported by familiarity-based recognition and is most impaired under relational encoding and recollection-based retrieval conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)114-124
Number of pages11
JournalSchizophrenia Bulletin
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • episodic memory
  • item-specific processing
  • neurocognition
  • relational processing
  • schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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