Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Practice Effects

  • David L. McCabeEmail author
  • Karen G. Langer
  • Melinda A. Cornwell
  • Joan C. Borod
  • H. Allison Bender
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_1139


Improvements in test performance resulting from repeated exposure to testing content, paradigms, or settings.

Current Knowledge

Sources of Practice Effects

Sources of practice effects include deliberate practice/rehearsal, incidental learning, procedural learning, changes in an examinee’s conceptualization of a task, shift in strategy, or increased familiarity with the test-taking environment and/or paradigm.

Practice Effects and Time

Shorter test-retest intervals are typically associated with larger magnitude practice effects. Distributed practice (i.e., multiple practice sessions over an extended period) may be more effective than massed practice (i.e., concentrated into a short span of time) in facilitating long-term learning. When follow-up testing occurs over an extended period of time, practice effects may be obscured by cognitive decline (e.g., resulting from normal aging or disease). Practice effects are generally largest from the first to second administration.


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References and Readings

  1. Lezak, M. D., Howieson, D. B., & Loring, D. W. (2004). Neuropsychological assessment (4th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. McCaffrey, R. J., Duff, K., & Westervelt, H. J. (Eds.). (2000). Practitioner’s guide to evaluating change with neuropsychological assessment instruments. In A. E. Puente & C. R. Reynolds (Series Eds.), Critical issues in neuropsychology. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.Google Scholar
  3. Payne, D. G., & Wenger, M. J. (1996). Practice effects in memory: Data, theory, and unanswered questions. In D. J. Herrmann, C. McEvoy, C. Hertzog, P. Hertel, & M. Johnson (Eds.), Basic and applied memory research: Practical applications (Vol. 2). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  4. Strauss, E., Sherman, E. M. S., & Spreen, O. (2006). A compendium of neuropsychological tests: Administration, norms, and commentary (3rd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • David L. McCabe
    • 1
    Email author
  • Karen G. Langer
    • 2
  • Melinda A. Cornwell
    • 3
  • Joan C. Borod
    • 4
    • 5
  • H. Allison Bender
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyRusk Rehabilitation, NYU Langone Medical CenterNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Rehabilitation MedicineRusk Rehabilitation, NYU Langone Medical CenterNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyQueens College and The Graduate Center of the City University of New YorkFlushingUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyQueens College and The Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY)New YorkUSA
  5. 5.Department of NeurologyIcahn School of Medicine at Mount SinaiNew YorkUSA