Performance of older depressed patients on two cognitive malingering tests: false positive rates for the Rey 15-item memorization and dot counting tests

Clin Neuropsychol. 2000 Aug;14(3):303-8. doi: 10.1076/1385-4046(200008)14:3;1-P;FT303.


To our knowledge, no investigations have been undertaken to determine whether depression impacts performance on two commonly used tests to detect malingering of cognitive symptoms, the Rey 15-item Memorization Test and the Rey Dot Counting Test. This is a critical issue because of the high rate of depressive symptoms in patients with neurological conditions. It was hypothesized that depressed individuals, especially those with more severe depression, might be at risk for failing the tests, because these patients exhibit mild deficits in mental speed, visual perceptual/spatial skills, and visual memory, abilities required for successful completion of the malingering tests. However, examination of test performance in 64 older participants with major depression generally revealed very low false positive rates for most test scores, and severity of depression was unrelated to test scores. These results add to accumulating data supporting the validity of these cognitive malingering tests by documenting few false positive identifications.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aging
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology*
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Malingering / diagnosis*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Reaction Time
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Space Perception
  • Visual Perception