Validation of the affective word list as a measure of verbal learning and memory

Jessica E. Meyer, Peter A. Arnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Introduction: This study evaluated the Affective Word List (AWL), a measure designed to assess affective bias, as a measure of verbal learning and memory in the context of baseline concussion evaluations. The AWL was developed to assess affective bias in order to circumvent the tendency of some examinees to minimize self-report of depression symptoms. However, because it is designed as a traditional list-learning task, the cognitive indices of the AWL have the added potential to be used as measures of verbal learning and memory. It would be useful to have a performance-based measure that is sensitive to both the affective and cognitive consequences of concussion. Method: Participants from a university-based sports concussion program were used to evaluate the descriptive statistics and distribution of the AWL and its convergent and discriminant validity. A separate sample of undergraduate students, active in intramural or club athletics, served as participants for a delayed alternate-form reliability study. All reliability and validity results were compared with those of the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test-Revised (HVLT-R) and the Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing Verbal Memory Composite (ImPACT-VM). Results: Results of this study showed that the cognitive indices of the AWL have normal distributions, and its four forms are equivalent. The AWL demonstrated moderate delayed alternate-form reliability, moderate convergent validity with other measures of verbal learning and memory, and strong discriminant validity with measures of processing speed and reaction time. Conclusions: Results of this study suggest that the AWL may have clinical utility as a measure of verbal learning and memory in concussion management and research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)316-324
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 16 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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