One hundred fourteen patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI), selected from a 5-year series of consecutive rehabilitation referrals, completed the California Verbal Learning Test—Second Edition (CVLT-II) within 1 year after injury. Various performance contrasts (i.e., proactive interference, retroactive interference, rapid forgetting, and retrieval problems) were evaluated. Initial analyses revealed higher rates of rapid forgetting in the TBI group as compared to the standardization sample. Follow-up analyses between those patients with and without unusual degrees of rapid forgetting did not reveal any significant differences between these groups on demographic or neurological variables (p>0.10 for all variables). It is concluded that performance discrepancies on the CVLT-II should never be used in isolation to determine the presence or absence of acquired cerebral or memory impairment. However, regardless of the cause, such discrepancies may still be relevant for clinical treatment recommendations.

Author notes

This research was supported by a grant from the Campbell Foundation.