Individuals with probable Alzheimer disease (AD) may perform below cutoffs on traditional, memory-based performance validity tests. Previous studies have found success using event-related potentials (ERPs) to detect feigned neurocognitive impairment in younger populations.
To evaluate the utility of an auditory oddball task in conjunction with the P3b peak amplitude to distinguish probable AD from simulated dementia.
Twenty individuals with probable AD and 20 older healthy controls (HC) underwent an ERP auditory oddball protocol and the Test of Memory Malingering (TOMM). The HC were asked to perform honestly for one condition and to simulate dementia for the other. The individuals with probable AD were asked to perform honestly. The P3b peak amplitude and button press accuracy were collected from each participant and were analyzed to determine their effectiveness in detecting performance validity.
The P3b peak amplitude remained stable regardless of behavioral condition in the HC group. When combined with the TOMM Trial 2 score, the P3b peak amplitude further improved the ability to correctly differentiate individuals with probable AD from HC simulating dementia with 100% sensitivity and 90% specificity.
The P3b peak amplitude was found to be an effective physiologic measure of cognitive impairment in individuals with probable AD compared with HC simulating dementia. When combined with the TOMM Trial 2 score, the P3b peak amplitude served as a promising performance validity measure for differentiating individuals with probable AD from HC simulating dementia.