Similarities and Differences among Commonly Used Verbal List Learning Tasks


The current study identifies intra-individual performance differences on three commonly used verbal list learning tests, and it discusses implications of these differences for both clinical and research applications. The measures of interest are the California Verbal List Learning Test – Second Edition, the Hopkins Verbal List Learning Test – Revised, and The Rey Auditory Verbal List Learning Test. While each measure is classified as a verbal list learning test, differences in test structure and administration may result in variable performance within individuals. This variability has potential implications for clinical test selection under various circumstances and for utilization of the tests in research. To address questions about the similarity of these measures and comparability of scores, the author obtained scores on all three tests from a sample of 92 normal college students. In addition, learning curve characteristics, serial position effects, and semantic clustering effects were compared and contrasted across measures. Correlations for similar measures within tasks were significant, but lower than would be acceptable for alternate forms use. Differences in tasks were identified in learning curve characteristics and serial position effects. Additionally, factor structures of tasks varied significantly. Discussion of results includes exploratory explanations for some sources of variance among tests. The current study reinforces the need for neuropsychologists to carefully consider their specific task selections within the testing paradigm of verbal learning, noting the population of interest, the purpose of the evaluation, and the conceptualized construct of verbal learning from which the neuropsychologist is operating.



Verbal list learning, Psychometrics, Verbal memory, Test validity, CVLT-II, RAVLT, HVLT-R, Neurosciences, Neuropsychology, Test selection