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The Association Between Measures of Intelligence and Memory in a Clinical Sample

23 July 2010


Accurate detection of cognitive impairment is a fundamental part of neuropsychological assessment, and assessment of memory decline is particularly important because it is a common reason for referral. Discrepancy analysis is a method of detecting memory decline which involves comparing the patient’s present test scores with an expected level of performance. The patient’s expected level of performance on memory tests frequently is their level of performance on intelligence measures. However, there are differing positions in the literature regarding the relationship between intelligence and memory and accurate understanding of this relationship is critical to the discrepancy analysis approach. This study examines the relationship between four measures of memory and four estimates of intelligence to evaluate the relationship between these constructs and determine if comparison of intelligence and memory test scores is a valid method of identifying memory impairment. The sample (N = 167) included patients referred to a university doctoral clinical psychology training and research center for neuropsychological assessment. Results indicate memory scores increase with intelligence scores, though they are not linear correlates across all levels of intelligence. In particular, memory tends to be lower than intellectual ability in individuals with above average intelligence. The clinical implications of these findings are discussed and with recommendations for clinical practice.


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