A comparison of the performances between healthy older adults and persons with Alzheimer’s disease on the Rey auditory verbal learning test and the Test de rappel libre/rappel indicé 16 items

The aim of this research was to compare the performances of healthy elderly (n=40) and individuals with Alzheimer’s disease (AD, n=40) on the RL/RI 16, a French adap-tation of the Free and cued selective reminding test (FCSRT) and on the Rey auditory verbal learning test (RAVLT). These two verbal episodic memory tests are frequently used in clini-cal practice in French-speaking populations. Results showed that the RAVLT demonstrated a slightly better sensitivity and sensibility than the RL/RI 16. The RAVLT allowed to classify participants of the two groups without any overlap. Moreover, no floor effect was observed in the RAVLT in AD and ceiling effects were less pronounced in normal controls that in the RL/RI 16. Results observed in the RL/RI 16 showed important ceiling effects and a decline in performance on free recall throughout trials in AD patients. Nonetheless, the latter tool was less sensitive to recency effects than the RAVLT and may thus provide a more realistic view of the long-term memory performance of these patients. The semantic cues provided in the RL/RI 16 appeared to increase intrusions in AD whereas the interference list in the RAVLT was the first source of false recognitions in both healthy elderly and AD. In conclu-sion, this paper demonstrates both the advantages and disadvantages of these two tools in the evaluation of episodic memory in elderly with and without cognitive deficits.