The trail making test (TMT) is widely used to assess speed of processing and executive function. However, normative data sets gathered at different sites show significant inconsistencies. Here, we describe a computerized version of the TMT (C-TMT) that increases the precision and replicability of the TMT by permitting a segment-by-segment analysis of performance and separate analyses of dwell-time, move-time, and error time. Experiment 1 examined 165 subjects of various ages and found that completion times on both the C-TMT-A (where subjects connect successively numbered circles) and the C-TMT-B (where subjects connect circles containing alternating letters and numbers) were strongly influenced by age. Experiment 2 examined 50 subjects who underwent three test sessions. The results of the first test session were well fit by the normative data gathered in Experiment 1. Sessions 2 and 3 demonstrated significant learning effects, particularly on the C-TMT-B, and showed good test-retest reliability. Experiment 3 examined performance in subjects instructed to feign symptoms of traumatic brain injury: 44% of subjects produced abnormal completion times on the C-TMT-A, and 18% on the C-TMT-B. Malingering subjects could be distinguished from abnormally slow controls based on (1) disproportionate increases in dwell-time on the C-TMT-A, and (2) greater deficits on the C-TMT-A than on the C-TMT-B. Experiment 4 examined the performance of 28 patients with traumatic brain injury: C-TMT-B completion times were slowed, and TBI patients showed reduced movement velocities on both tests. The C-TMT improves the reliability and sensitivity of the trail making test of processing speed and executive function.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)