Symptom validity testing, effort, and neuropsychological assessment

J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2012 Jul;18(4):632-40. doi: 10.1017/s1355617712000252.


Symptom validity testing (SVT) has become a major theme of contemporary neuropsychological research. However, many issues about the meaning and interpretation of SVT findings will require the best in research design and methods to more precisely characterize what SVT tasks measure and how SVT test findings are to be used in neuropsychological assessment. Major clinical and research issues are overviewed including the use of the “effort” term to connote validity of SVT performance, the use of cut-scores, the absence of lesion-localization studies in SVT research, neuropsychiatric status and SVT performance and the rigor of SVT research designs. Case studies that demonstrate critical issues involving SVT interpretation are presented.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attention / physiology
  • Brain / pathology
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Humans
  • Illness Behavior
  • Language
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Malingering / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Motivation
  • Neuropsychological Tests / standards*
  • Repression, Psychology
  • Reproducibility of Results