The Flynn effect in estimates of premorbid intellectual functioning in an Australian sample

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While the Flynn effect is a well-recognised phenomenon impacting tests of cognitive ability, limited research has been conducted into its relevance for tests of premorbid ability. Consequently, we aimed to investigate whether estimated FSIQ scores from four commonly used word reading tasks (the NART, the NART2, the WTAR, and the TOPF) were influenced by the Flynn effect.
We administered the NART, WTAR, and TOPF to 120 healthy community-dwelling adults. Using these raw scores we calculated estimated FSIQ scores using the predictive models published in the relevant manuals and compared these with scores obtained on the WASI-II.
We found a linear increase in estimated FSIQ, with the oldest reading task, the NART, returning the highest scores and the most recent, the TOPF, the lowest. The NART, WTAR US, and TOPF US overestimated intellectual ability compared to current functioning measured by the WASI-II.
Our findings indicated tests of premorbid functioning appear to be subject to the Flynn effect, and clinicians should exercise caution in using older word reading tasks such as the NART. Our results support the need for Australian standardisations of these instruments.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2001297
Number of pages9
JournalAustralian Journal of Psychology
Issue number1
Early online date16 Feb 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Feb 2022


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