Retrospective analysis of the test of memory malingering in a low intellectual quotient intractable epilepsy sample

Alexandra F. Grant, Nicole J. Werner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The Test of Memory Malingering (TOMM) is commonly used by neuropsychologists (Sharland, M. J., & Gfeller, J. D. (2007). A survey of neuropsychologists' beliefs and practices with respect to the assessment of effort. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 22 (2), 213-223); however there is variable research regarding its use in low intelligence and epileptic populations (Hill, S. K., Ryan, L. M., Kennedy, C. H., & Malamut, B. L. (2003). The relationship between measures of declarative memory and the Test of Memory Malingering in patients with and without temporal lobe dysfunction. Journal of Forensic Neuropsychology, 3 (3), 1-18; Hurley, K. E., & Deal, W. P. (2006). Assessment instruments measuring malingering used with individuals who have mental retardation: Potential problems and issues. Mental Retardation, 44 (2), 112-119; Simon, M. J. (2007). Performance of mentally retarded forensic patients on the Test of Memory Malingering. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 63 (4), 339-344). The present study evaluates whether the standard TOMM cutoffs are resistant to low estimated IQ (≤80) in a clinical sample of patients with intractable epilepsy. A second aim is to decipher possible relationships between the TOMM and memory performance. Methods: Retrospective data analysis was conducted between 2010 and 2019 on 42 adults with intractable epilepsy who completed a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation as part of screening procedures for epilepsy surgery. IQ estimates and TOMM were administered to all participants. Some were also administered memory- and mood-related measures. Results: Traditional TOMM cutoffs demonstrated excellent specificity with only one participant scoring below the cutoff score on the Retention Trial, but not on Trial 2. The TOMM significantly correlated with several scores on various memory tests. Conclusions: The TOMM may be appropriate for use in low intellectually functioning populations with intractable epilepsy given the excellent specificity seen in this study. Future studies may seek to better understand the relationship between TOMM and memory performance in other low-functioning populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)726-734
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Clinical Neuropsychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • Effort
  • Epilepsy
  • Low intelligence
  • Performance validity tests


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