Ursidae: The Undergraduate Research Journal at the University of Northern Colorado


Neuropsychological tools are used to gain more accurate insight about an individual’s level of functioning (cognitive, behavioral, executive, etc.), and to make more exact diagnoses; therefore, valid neuropsychological tools are necessary for precise evaluation. Valid neuropsychological assessment relies upon the individual putting forth maximum effort during testing. While the literature is rich when describing methods of detecting incomplete effort, it is sparse when identifying instruments resistant to such response bias. The goal of this study was to determine whether or not effort affects performance on the D-KEFS Tower Test by comparing the results with the Test of Memory Malingering (a neuropsychological assessment designed to measure effort). Thirty-nine neurologically intact college students from a medium sized Rocky Mountain university introductory subject pool were asked to participate. The participants in the experimental group were given a vignette explaining that they had been in a car accident. The participants were then asked to pretend that they had suffered a brain injury and were having memory problems. The participants in the control group were asked to do their best. A blind examiner administered the D-KEFS Tower Test and The Test of Memory Malingering (TOMM) to both groups. Data analysis shows that there was a significant difference between the two groups’ performance on the TOMM, but no significant difference between the scores on the Tower Test. These results suggest that the D-KEFS Tower Test is relatively resilient to incomplete effort.