A Cross-Cultural Analysis of the Test of Memory Malingering Among Latin American Spanish-Speaking Adults

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Cognitive efforts tests, such as the Test of Memory Malingering (TOMM; Tombaugh, 1997), are widely used internationally, yet there is a dearth of research that has assessed the utility of these measures in different cultures, countries, and languages. This study evaluated the specificity of the TOMM Trial 2 among a sample of 3,590 Spanish-speaking adults residing in 8 Latin American countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, and Puerto Rico). Trial 2 TOMM scores were negatively associated with participants’ age and positively associated with level of education. Country development, as measured by the United Nations Human Development Index, was also positively associated with TOMM scores. With the widespread use of cognitive efforts tests, this study offers useful insights into the utility of the TOMM in the assessment of Spanish speakers and highlights potential cultural biases that may impact test performance. Furthermore, this study raises concerns about the cross-cultural applicability of the TOMM, particularly when using cut scores established and evaluated primarily on North American, English-speaking samples. Forensic psychologists should be cautious when interpreting TOMM performance with Spanish-speaking adults from Latin American countries because it appears that there are cross-cultural differences that influence test performance.

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