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Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT)
Please visit this website for more information about the instrument: Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test
NeuroRehab Supplemental - Highly Recommended
Recommendations for Use: Indicated for studies requiring a measure for memory.
Basic: Acute Hospitalized Traumatic Brain Injury, Concussion/Mild Traumatic Brain Injury, and  Moderate/Severe Traumatic Brain Injury
Supplemental: Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy, Mitochondrial Disease (Mito), Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Sport-Related Concussion (SRC) Persistent/Chronic (3 months and greater post-concussion), Stroke, and Epidemiology Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Exploratory: Unruptured Cerebral Aneurysms and Subarachnoid Hemorrhage (SAH) and Sport-Related Concussion (SRC) Acute (time of injury until 72 hours) and Subacute (after 72 hours to 3 months)
Short Description of Instrument
Originally developed in the 1940s, the RAVLT has evolved over the years, and several variations of the test have emerged. The standard RAVLT format starts with a list of 15 words, which an examiner reads aloud at the rate of one per second. The participant's task is to repeat all the words he or she can remember, in any order. This procedure is carried out a total of five times. Then the examiner presents a second list of 15 words, allowing the participant only one attempt at recall. Immediately following this, the participant is asked to remember as many words as possible from the first list. Finally, free recall and recognition trials are administered after a delay.
The RAVLT has proven useful in evaluating verbal learning and memory, including proactive inhibition, retroactive inhibition, retention, and differentiating encoding versus retrieval difficulties. The test is appropriate for both children and adults (ages 7 through 89) and has gained widespread acceptance.
Epilepsy-Specific Information: The RAVLT is a verbal learning test that has been used widely, both in North American and Europe, as well as Australia (Weintrob, 2007). In addition, a Spanish version is available (WHO-UCLA AVLT). It is structured in the same format as the CVLT (5 learning trials, distractor trial, and immediate and delayed recall of initial list), but consists of words that are not semantically related.
TBI-Specific Information/Comments: This is a performance-based measure which requires the participant to understand what is required and participate in the testing. It requires a functional level in the severe disability or above on the GOS/GOSE.
Sport-Related Concussion-Specific Comments: The RAVLT has proven useful in evaluating verbal learning and memory, including proactive inhibition, retroactive inhibition, retention, encoding versus retrieval, and subjective organization. Because the test is brief, straightforward, easy to understand, and appropriate for both children and adults (aged 7 through 89), it has gained widespread acceptance.
Age Range: 7-89 years
Comments/Special Instructions
This learning task allows examination of learning curve over repeated trials, as well as examination of interference effects in learning. Immediate and delayed trials are also helpful in highlighting what specific components of memory or learning may be vulnerable to various disease processes.
Translated or modified versions are available in a variety of languages.
Scoring and Psychometric Properties
Scoring: Different summary scores are derived from raw RAVLT scores. These include RAVLT Immediate (the sum of scores from 5 first trials, i.e., Trials 1 to 5), Learning (the score of Trial 5 minus the score of Trial 1), and Forgetting (the score of Trial 5 minus score of the delayed recall).
Psychometric Properties: This measure has good psychometric properties, is widely used, has been translated into multiple languages, has multiple forms, and is in the public domain. It is a legacy measure for the NIH Toolbox Episodic Memory subdomain.
Strengths: The advantages of the RAVLT include costs (in the public domain) and its purported greater sensitivity than the CVLT to lateralized temporal lobe seizure onset. The RAVLT has been translated into multiple languages including Spanish (Los Angeles Auditory Verbal Learning Test), which facilitates its use across a wider segment of the population not only in the US, but to compare across studies from other nations. The RAVLT has been widely used to characterize verbal memory in epilepsy patient series.
Weaknesses: The primary disadvantage of the AVLT is its normative information, with a variety of "norms" appearing in different contexts. Although meta-norms are available, the norms were not obtained in a systematic fashion such as with tests from formal test publishers.
There is no universally agreed upon recognition format for the procedure. The committee has selected one to permit consistency across studies, although there are also discussions to create a new recognition form due to certain limitations of current recognition approaches.
Key Reference:
Schmidt M. Rey Auditory and Verbal Learning Test: A Handbook. Los Angeles: Western Psychological Services; 1996.
Additional References:
Strauss E, Sherman EMS, Spreen O. Rey-Osterrieth Auditory Verbal Learning Test. Compendium of neuropsychological tests. New York: Oxford University Press; 2006. p 776-807.
Weintrob DL, Saling MM, Berkovic SF, Reutens DC. Impaired verbal associative learning after resection of left perirhinal cortex. Brain. 2007 May;130(Pt 5):1423-31.
Mitochondrial Disease-Specific References:
Inczedy-Farkas G, Trampush JW, Perczel Forintos D, Beech D, Andrejkovics M, Varga Z, Remenyi V, Bereznai B, Gal A, Molnar MJ. Mitochondrial DNA mutations and cognition: a case-series report. Arch Clin Neuropsychol. 2014 Jun;29(4):315-21.
Klein IL, van de Loo KFE, Smeitink JAM, Janssen MCH, Kessels RPC, van Karnebeek CD, van der Veer E, Custers JAE, Verhaak CM. Cognitive functioning and mental health in mitochondrial disease: A systematic scoping review. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2021 Jun;125:57-77.
Sport-Related Concussion-Specific References:
Maher ME, Hutchison M, Cusimano M, Comper P, Schweizer TA. Concussions and heading in soccer: a review of the evidence of incidence, mechanisms, biomarkers and neurocognitive outcomes. Brain Inj. 2014;28(3):271-85.
Wilkinson AA. An Investigation of the Effect of Sports-Related Concussion on Verbal Learning and Memory Performance in Youth (Doctoral dissertation, University of Toronto); 2011.
Stroke-Specific References:
Rand D, Eng JJ, Liu-Ambrose T, Tawashy AE. Feasibility of a 6-month exercise and recreation program to improve executive functioning and memory in individuals with chronic stroke. Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2010 Oct;24(8):722-9.
Rasquin SM, Lodder J, Ponds RW, Winkens I, Jolles J, Verhey FR. Cognitive functioning after stroke: a one-year follow-up study. Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 2004;18(2):138-44.
Vallat C, Azouvi P, Hardisson H, Meffert R, Tessier C, Pradat-Diehl P. Rehabilitation of verbal working memory after left hemisphere stroke. Brain Inj. 2005 Dec;19(13):1157-64.
TBI-Specific References:
Brenner LA, Terrio H, Homaifar BY, Gutierrez PM, Staves PJ, Harwood JE, Reeves D, Adler LE, Ivins BJ, Helmick K, Warden D. Neuropsychological test performance in soldiers with blast-related mild TBI. Neuropsychology. 2010 Mar;24(2):160-7.
McCauley SR, Wilde EA, Anderson VA, Bedell G, Beers SR, Campbell TF, Chapman SB, Ewing-Cobbs L, Gerring JP, Gioia GA, Levin HS, Michaud LJ, Prasad MR, Swaine BR, Turkstra LS, Wade SL, Yeates KO; Pediatric TBI Outcomes Workgroup. Recommendations for the use of common outcome measures in pediatric traumatic brain injury research. J Neurotrauma. 2012 Mar 1;29(4):678-705.
Sroufe NS, Fuller DS, West BT, Singal BM, Warschausky SA, Maio RF. Postconcussive symptoms and neurocognitive function after mild traumatic brain injury in children. Pediatrics. 2010 Jun;125(6):e1331-9.
Studer M, Goeggel Simonetti B, Joeris A, Margelisch K, Steinlin M, Roebers CM, Heinks T. Post-concussive symptoms and neuropsychological performance in the post-acute period following pediatric mild traumatic brain injury. J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2014 Nov;20(10):982-93.
Waeljas M, Lange RT, Hakulinen U, Huhtala H, Dastidar P, Hartikainen K, Oehman J, Iverson GL. Biopsychosocial outcome after uncomplicated mild traumatic brain injury. J Neurotrauma. 2014 Jan 1;31(1):108-24.
Document last updated March 2024