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Validation of the mobile verbal learning test: Illustration of its use for age and disease-related cognitive deficits.

  • Author(s): Moore, Raeanne C;
  • Paolillo, Emily W;
  • Sundermann, Erin E;
  • Campbell, Laura M;
  • Delgadillo, Jeremy;
  • Heaton, Anne;
  • Swendsen, Joel;
  • Depp, Colin A
  • et al.

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We developed a mobile cognitive test of verbal learning and memory, the mobile verbal learning test (mVLT), to allow for brief, repeated and portable delivery of a 12-item list learning test through a smartphone. This study examined the psychometric properties of the mVLT among older persons with and without human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).


Sixty-eight persons with HIV and 36 HIV-negative individuals (aged 50-74) completed three trials of the mVLT on a smartphone once daily for 14 days. A different word list was administered each day.


Participants completed 80% of the 14 mVLT administrations, equating to 1166 valid and complete mVLTs. Neither adherence nor mean mVLT total score (number correct in 3 recall trials) differed by HIV status. No practice effects from repeated mVLT administration were observed, and there were moderately strong correlations of mVLT performance with performance on the in-lab version of the task and with traditional cognitive assessments of cognitive processes contributing to memory. We found evidence of within-person learning across mVLT trials, with persons with HIV demonstrating less learning from trials 1 to 3 compared to HIV-negative participants.


The mVLT is a valid method to assess learning in the real world in older adults with and without HIV.

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