Navigation Links
Cognitive Test Takers and Score Variation

A cognitive psychologist at the University of Virginia, has demonstrated that giving a test only once isnt enough to get a clear picture of someones mental functioning. It appears that repeating tests over a short period may give a more accurate range of scores, improving diagnostic workups.

Salthouse gave 16 common cognitive and neuropsychological tests to evenly divided participants (90 in the first, 1600 in the second) into groups of ages 18-39, 50-59 and 60-97 years old. In both studies, the variation between someones scores on the same test given three times over two weeks was as big as the variation between the scores of people in different age groups.

Its as if on the same test, someone acted like a 20-year-old on a Monday, a 45-year-old the following Friday, and a 32-year-old the following Wednesday. This major inconsistency raises questions about the worth of single, one-time test scores.

I dont think many people would have expected that the variability would be this large, and apparent in a wide variety of cognitive tests not simply tests of speed or alertness, says Salthouse.

Psychologists frequently use tests of vocabulary, word recall, spatial relations, pattern comparison and the like to understand normal function and diagnose impairment. Experts use the scores to differentiate between diagnoses, detect changes in level of functioning or to give a diagnosis in the first place. Where scores fall relative to standardized cutoffs affects treatment, insurance, education plans and more.

Yet the apparent fuzziness of one-time assessments could make it hard to tell whether someone is truly impaired, or truly improving or worsening, instead of showing normal short-term fluctuation.

Accordingly, Salthouse has come to believe that everyone has a range of typical performances, a one-person bell curve. Any given test will net a performance somewhere along that curve, as when a hitters good and b ad days are factored into a seasonal batting average.

Some persons scores would hew more closely to their average, but for those who have high internal variation, classification based on one assessment could be way off the mark.

Salthouse says it may be time to view cognitive abilities as a distribution of many potential levels of performance instead of as one stable short-term level. He proposes the use of a measurement burst procedure that bases understanding on several parallel assessments within a relatively short period. Results gained in this manner are likely to be more stable, offering a better basis for calibrating individual change.

Before any procedural updates, Salthouse says, More will have to be learned about this phenomenon and the conditions under which it operates. Multiple assessments involve more time and expense but may be necessary, he notes, to distinguish short-term fluctuation from true ability level.

In addition, psychologists would have to develop new test norms and truly equivalent versions of the same test.

Finally, Salthouse believes that measures of within-person variability could be a useful diagnostic marker in their own right. For example, he and other cognitive psychologists are discussing whether wilder fluctuations within one persons test scores are an early warning of mental decline.


Related medicine news :

1. Women With Diabetes At Increased Risk Of Developing Cognitive Impairment
2. Physical Activity Good For Developing Cognitive Skills
3. Cognitive rehabilitation holds promise for schizophrenic brain function improvements
4. Suicidal Tendencies May Be Treated With Cognitive Therapy
5. Blood Pressure Later Leads to Cognitive Problems
6. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Seen To Be Effective Against Back Pain
7. Anticholinergic Medicines Result In Cognitive Impairment
8. Cognitive deterioration in the older generation can be prevented by modifying the lifestyle
9. Fetal Neural Grafts Improves Motor and Cognitive Function in Huntington Patients
10. High Blood Pressure Leads to Rusting of Cognitive Skills
11. Older Women Who Are Avid Watchers of the Tube Have Cognitive Difficulties
Post Your Comments:

(Date:11/26/2015)... ON (PRWEB) , ... November 26, 2015 , ... ... of a real-time eReferral system for diagnostic imaging in the Waterloo region. Using ... BMD and Nuclear Medicine tests directly from their electronic medical record (EMR) without ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... WorldCare International, Inc., ... the 61st annual Employee Benefits Conference. The Employee Benefits Conference was hosted by ... through Wednesday, November 11th, 2015. The conference was held at the Hawaii Convention ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... 25, 2015 , ... As part of a global movement ... volunteers together who want to combine talents and resources to help create sustainable ... process. The non-profit launched its first major fundraiser on November 6, 2015 at ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Dr. John Pierce, Medical ... more about hair loss treatment with the Capillus272™ Pro laser therapy cap. FDA cleared ... thicker and fuller hair, without the need for surgery, prescription pills, or topical foams. ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... 25, 2015 , ... Lakeview Health, a Jacksonville-based drug and ... sobriety and show through pictures what a positive difference it makes. The social ... the hashtag #FacesOfGratitude on their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. Short stories ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... -- The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American Congress ... of Dimes cheered today,s signature into law of ... 2015 (S.799), which takes much-needed strides to ... drugs, such as opioids, and to improve their ... have worked together leading advocacy efforts for its ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Nov. 25, 2015  Henry Schein, Inc., the world,s ... office-based dental, medical and animal health practitioners, will unveil ... Henry Schein ConnectDental® Pavilion , which brings together ... open solutions designed to help any practice or laboratory ... for a schedule of experts appearing at the ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 25, 2015 Allergan plc (NYSE: ... Rugen Therapeutics, a start-up  biotechnology company focused on ... disorders and funded by the F-Prime Biomedical Research ... into an exclusive collaboration to support the discovery ... Disorders (ASD) and Obsessive Compulsive disorders (OCD). ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: