Suppressed working memory on the WMS-III as a marker for poor effort

Rael T Lange, Grant L Iverson, Karen Sullivan, Debbie Anderson
Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology 2006, 28 (3): 294-305
The purpose of this study was to examine the clinical utility of memory minus Working Memory Index (memory-WMI) discrepancy scores on the WMS-III for detecting poor effort in 145 personal injury litigants (19 poor effort, 126 adequate effort). On average, participants in the poor effort group performed significantly lower on all WMS-III memory indexes and demonstrated larger memory-WMI discrepancy scores compared to participants in the adequate effort group. Discriminant function analyses using memory-WMI discrepancy scores as independent variables revealed poor overall classification rates (60.0% to 63.4%). Based on the prevalence of unusually suppressed attention-concentration ability relative to memory functioning using unidirectional memory-WMI discrepancy scores, high specificity and negative predictive power values were found. However, there was unacceptably low sensitivity and positive predictive power. These results suggest that memory-WMI discrepancy scores on the WMS-III do not provide clinically useful information regarding response set and should be used cautiously as an indicator of poor effort.

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