The CERAD Word List Memory Test: Normative Data Based on a Norwegian Population-Based Sample of Healthy Older Adults 70 Years and Above. The HUNT Study

J Alzheimers Dis. 2023;91(1):321-343. doi: 10.3233/JAD-220672.


Background: The CERAD Word List Memory Test (WLMT) is widely used in the assessment of older adults with suspected dementia. Although normative data of the WLMT exist in many different regions of the world, normative data based on large population-based cohorts from the Scandinavian countries are lacking.

Objective: To develop normative data for the WLMT based on a large population-based Norwegian sample of healthy older adults aged 70 years and above, stratified by age, gender, and education.

Methods: A total of 6,356 older adults from two population-based studies in Norway, HUNT4 70 + and HUNT4 Trondheim 70+, were administered the WLMT. Only persons with normal cognitive function were included. We excluded persons with a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia, and persons with a history of stroke and/or depression. This resulted in 3,951 persons aged between 70 and 90 years, of whom 56.2% were females. Regression-based normative data were developed for this sample.

Results: Age, gender, and education were significant predictors of performance on the WLMT list-learning subtests and the delayed recall subtest, i.e., participants of younger age, female sex, and higher education level attained higher scores compared to participants of older age, male sex, and lower level of education.

Conclusion: Regression-based normative data from the WMLT, stratified by age, gender, and education from a large population-based Norwegian sample of cognitively healthy older adults aged 70 to 90 years are presented. An online norm calculator is available to facilitate scoring of the subtests (in percentiles and z-scores).

Keywords: CERAD Word List Memory Test; cognition; memory; neuropsychological tests; normative data; older adults; population-based.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cognitive Dysfunction* / diagnosis
  • Cognitive Dysfunction* / epidemiology
  • Dementia* / diagnosis
  • Dementia* / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Norway / epidemiology