Repeat cognitive assessment comparing post-injury performance to a pre-injury baseline is common in concussion management. Although post-injury tests are typically administered in clinical settings, baseline tests may be conducted individually with one-on-one supervision, in a group with supervision, or without supervision. The extent to which these different test settings affect cognitive performance is not well understood. To assess if performance on the Cogstate Brief Battery (CBB) differs across these settings, tests completed individually with one-on-one supervision were compared to those taken either in a group with supervision or individually but without supervision.
A crossover study design was utilized to account for any effect of individual variability or test order to provide an unbiased examination of the effect of test setting on cognitive performance. Young adult participants completed an individually supervised test either before or after also completing a group or unsupervised test.
CBB scores from the same individuals were not significantly different across test settings. Effect sizes ranged in magnitude from .09 to .12 for supervised versus unsupervised tests and from .01 to .37 for individual versus group tests across CBB tasks.
These results suggest that cognitive testing with the CBB in alternate settings can provide valid cognitive data comparable to data obtained during individually supervised testing.