The detection of suboptimal effort has become crucial in clinical neuropsychological practice in order to make accurate diagnoses, prognoses, and referrals. Symptom Validity Testing (SVT) has been the most commonly utilized model for assessing effort, and frequently includes recognition memory tasks. Some conflicting views on this model purport, however, that measures of effort gathered from a recognition memory paradigm do not necessarily extend to effort in other cognitive domains and other areas of performance. The present study sought to investigate whether performance on an SVT measure, which utilizes recognition memory, the TOMM, could predict performance on other measures that do not evaluate recognition memory or just memory per se in a group of mildly traumatic brain-injured litigants. Results indicated that poor performance on the TOMM was significantly correlated with poorer performance on the WAIS-R and the HRNB-A. Further, experimental exploration of these results indicated that the overall neuropsychological performance of litigants with suboptimal effort was poorer than what is generally expected from mild TBI individuals, and was also lower than the other mild TBI examinees in the study, who were not classified by the TOMM as exhibiting suboptimal effort. These findings support the proposition that poor effort as measured by recognition memory effort measures is not restricted to recognition and memory measures. In fact, in the present study it appears that a poor performance on the TOMM is predictive of a generalized poorer performance on standardized measures such as the WAIS-R and the HNRB-A.

Author notes

Portions of this Paper were presented as a poster at the 2002 annual conference of the National Academy of Neuropsychology in Miami, FL, USA.