Validation of the Affective Verbal Learning Test as a Measure of Verbal Learning and Memory

Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology. 2012 Sep;


Meyer, J., G. Vargas, A. Rabinowitz, F. Barwick and P. Arnett.



Objective: In this study, the Affective Verbal Learning Test (AVLT), a measure of affective bias, was evaluated as a measure of verbal learning and memory in the context of baseline concussion evaluations. Methods: Three hundred and seventy-nine participants were included from a university-based sports concussion program. The AVLT, designed like a traditional list learning test but with affectively positive and negative words, was compared with other measures of verbal learning to establish convergent validity and with measures of visual attention and processing speed to establish discriminant validity. Results: AVLT immediate recall demonstrated moderate correlations with the HVLT-R immediate recall (r ¼ .40) and the IMPACT verbal memory composite (r ¼ .36). A weaker, but still statistically significant (p , .001) correlation was found between the AVLT immediate recall and the RBMT story memory immediate recall (r ¼ .22). Correlations among delayed recall measures on the AVLT and delayed recall indices from the verbal memory indices were comparable with immediate recall values. The AVLT total recall demonstrated strong discriminant validity with the average reaction time on the Vigil (r ¼ .08), the percent correct on the CARB (r ¼ .08), and the total correct on the PSU Cancelation Task (r ¼ .004). The AVLT delayed recall measure demonstrated similar discriminant validity correlations with these indices. Conclusions: The obtained convergent and discriminant validity values suggest that the AVLT may have clinical utility as a measure of verbal learning and memory in concussion management and research, in addition to its use as a performance-based measure of affect. Future studies will need to establish its sensitivity to concussion.

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