Abstract

Abstract

Empirical studies have questioned the validity of the Faces subtest from the WMS-III for detecting impairment in visual memory, particularly among the elderly. A recent examination of the test norms revealed a significant age related floor effect already emerging on Faces I (immediate recall), implying excessive difficulty in the acquisition phase among unimpaired older adults. The current study compared the concurrent validity of the Faces subtest with an alternative measure between 16 Alzheimer's patients and 16 controls. The alternative measure was designed to facilitate acquisition by reducing the sequence of item presentation. Other changes aimed at increasing the retrieval challenge, decreasing error due to guessing and standardizing the administration. Analyses converged to indicate that the alternative measure provided a considerably greater differentiation than the Faces subtest between Alzheimer's patients and controls. Steps for revising the Faces subtest are discussed.