Intraindividual neuropsychological test variability in healthy individuals with high average intelligence and educational attainment

Daniel J. Heyanka, Jessica L. Holster, Charles J. Golden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Knowledge of patterns of neuropsychological performance among normal, healthy individuals is integral to the practice of clinical neuropsychology, because clinicians may not always account for intraindividual variability (IIV) before coming to diagnostic conclusions. The IIV was assessed among a sample of 46 healthy individuals with high average intelligence and educational attainment, utilizing a battery of neuropsychological tests, including the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, Fourth Edition (WAIS-IV) and Wechsler Memory Scale, Fourth Edition (WMS-IV). The data indicated substantial variability in neurocognitive abilities. All participants were found to demonstrate scores considered impaired by at least 2 standard deviations (SDs). Despite adjusting for outliers, no participant produced a "normal" testing profile with an intraindividual maximum discrepancy (MD) of less than 1 SD in either direction. When WAIS-IV Full Scale IQ (FSIQ) was considered, participants generally demonstrated cognitive test scores ranging from 2 SDs less than to 1.5 SDs greater than their FSIQ. Furthermore, after demographic corrections, the majority (59%) of participants demonstrated at least 1 impaired cognitive test score, as defined by being 1 to 1.5 SDs below the mean. Overall, results substantiate the need for clinicians to consider FSIQ and educational attainment in interpretation of neuropsychological testing results, given the relevant commonality of "abnormal" test scores within this population. This may ultimately reduce the likelihood of making false-positive conclusions of impairment when educational attainment and intelligence are high, thus improving diagnostic accuracy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)526-531
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2013


  • Educational attainment
  • Intraindividual variability
  • WMS-IV

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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