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Clin Neuropsychol. 2003 Aug;17(3):426-40.

Effectiveness of the Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure Test and the Meyers and Meyers recognition trial in the detection of suspect effort.

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Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, CA 90509-2910, USA.


The Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure Test (ROCFT) is a popular measure of visuoconstructive skills and visual memory. A recognition memory trial was recently developed by Meyers and Meyers (1995) and attached to the standard administration of the ROCFT. The addition of this recognition paradigm (comprised of 12 small designs from the original ROCFT stimulus interspersed among 12 foils) makes ROCFT a potentially useful instrument in capturing suspect effort because patients attempting to feign memory difficulties typically operate from the misconception that recognition memory is as impaired as free recall in brain injury and, as a result, suppress recognition performance. The ROCFT (copy, immediate recall [i.e., 3-min recall], and the recognition trial) was administered to four sets of participants: 58 patients with suspect effort; 23 neuropsychology clinic patients with verbal memory impairment, 17 clinic patients with visual memory impairment, and 30 clinic patients without memory impairment. Group comparisons revealed significant group differences in direct copy, immediate recall, and recognition scores of the ROCFT (p<.0001), with the suspect effort group displaying significantly lower performance on the copy and immediate recall scores than the verbal memory impaired and nonmemory impaired clinic patient groups, and significantly lower recognition scores than all three clinical groups. Furthermore, qualitative examination of the recognition trial revealed the presence of "atypical recognition errors" that were endorsed with significantly higher frequency by the suspect effort patients. A combination score incorporating the copy, true positive recognition, and atypical recognition error scores yielded a sensitivity of 74% while misclassifying only approximately 4% of verbal memory impaired clinic patients, 12% of visual memory impaired clinic patients, and 3% of nonmemory impaired clinic patients. Thus, the ROCFT+recognition trial show considerable potential for detecting noncredible effort.

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