College of Psychology: Faculty Articles


Apparently Abnormal Wechsler Memory Scale Index Score Patterns in the Normal Population

Document Type


Publication Date



General Ability Index, WAIS-IV, WMS-IV

Publication Title

Applied Neuropsychology: Adult




Interpretation of the Wechsler Memory Scale-Fourth Edition may involve examination of multiple memory index score contrasts and similar comparisons with Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Fourth Edition ability indexes. Standardization sample data suggest that 15-point differences between any specific pair of index scores are relatively uncommon in normal individuals, but these base rates refer to a comparison between a single pair of indexes rather than multiple simultaneous comparisons among indexes. This study provides normative data for the occurrence of multiple index score differences calculated by using Monte Carlo simulations and validated against standardization data. Differences of 15 points between any two memory indexes or between memory and ability indexes occurred in 60% and 48% of the normative sample, respectively. Wechsler index score discrepancies are normally common and therefore not clinically meaningful when numerous such comparisons are made. Explicit prior interpretive hypotheses are necessary to reduce the number of index comparisons and associated false-positive conclusions. Monte Carlo simulation accurately predicts these false-positive rates.