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Data from neurocognitive assessments may not be accurate in the context of factors impacting validity, such as disengagement, unmotivated responding, or intentional underperformance. Performance validity tests (PVTs) were developed to address these phenomena and assess underperformance on neurocognitive tests. However, PVTs can be burdensome, rely on cutoff scores that reduce information, do not examine potential variations in task engagement across a battery, and are typically not well-suited to acquisition of large cognitive datasets. Here we describe the development of novel performance validity measures that could address some of these limitations by leveraging psychometric concepts using data embedded within the Penn Computerized Neurocognitive Battery (PennCNB).
We first developed these validity measures using simulations of invalid response patterns with parameters drawn from real data. Next, we examined their application in two large, independent samples: 1) children and adolescents from the Philadelphia Neurodevelopmental Cohort (n = 9498); and 2) adult servicemembers from the Marine Resiliency Study-II (n = 1444).
Our performance validity metrics detected patterns of invalid responding in simulated data, even at subtle levels. Furthermore, a combination of these metrics significantly predicted previously established validity rules for these tests in both developmental and adult datasets. Moreover, most clinical diagnostic groups did not show reduced validity estimates.
These results provide proof-of-concept evidence for multivariate, data-driven performance validity metrics. These metrics offer a novel method for determining the performance validity for individual neurocognitive tests that is scalable, applicable across different tests, less burdensome, and dimensional. However, more research is needed into their application.
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