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Rey's verbal learning test: Normative data for 1855 healthy participants aged 24–81 years and the influence of age, sex, education, and mode of presentation


The Verbal Learning Test (VLT; Rey, 1958) evaluates the declarative memory. Despite its extensive use, it has been difficult to establish normative data because test administration has not been uniform. The purpose of the present study was to gather normative data for the VLT for a large number (N = 1855) of healthy participants aged 24–81 years, using a procedure in which the words to be learned were presented either verbally or visually. The results showed that VLT performance decreased in an age-dependent manner from an early age. The learning capacity of younger versus older adults differed quantitatively rather than qualitatively. Females and higher educated participants outperformed males and lower educated participants over the entire age range tested. Presentation mode affected VLT performance differently: auditory presentation resulted in a better recall on Trial 1 (a short-term or working memory measure), whereas visual presentation yielded a better performance on Trial 3, Trial 4, and Delta (a learning measure). (JINS, 2005, 11, 290–302.)

Corresponding author
Reprint requests to: Wim Van der Elst, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, Maastricht University, 6200 MD, Maastricht, The Netherlands. E-mail:
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