Cognitive-Affective Verbal Learning Test: An Integrated Measure of Affective and Neutral Words

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Despite growing affective-memory research, only 2 potential clinical measures have been published, each with limitations. We describe the development and piloting of an integrated memory measure for neutral and affectively valenced words, the Cognitive-Affective Verbal Learning Test (C-AVLT). The C-AVLT and mood self-report measures were administered to 124 healthy university students in Study 1, with readministration to 40 students after 1 week. In Study 2, the C-AVLT and other neuropsychological measures of memory and emotion were administered to 61 patients referred for polysomnogram evaluation of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Study 1 supported the C-AVLT’s internal and test–retest reliabilities, as well as concurrent validity, that is, the affective-bias scores but not performance scores correlated with self-reported mood. In Study 2, convergent, criterion (specifically cross-sectional concurrent validity), and incremental validity were supported with regard to both performance and affective-bias scores within the OSA sample. We demonstrated the C-AVLT is a reliable and clinically useful measure of both memory and affective-processing bias in 2 samples. Future clinical and research recommendations for the C-AVLT are discussed, including broadening normative data and criterion validity data in psychiatric and neurological samples.

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