Developmental Trajectory of Information-Processing Skills in Children: Computer-Based Assessment

June 23, 2016

Authors: Jacqueline Williams, Louise M Crowe, Julian Dooley, Alex Collie, Gavin Davis, Paul McCrory, Helen Clausen, David Maddocks, Vicki Anderson

Journal: Applied Neuropsychology: Child

DOI: 10.1080/21622965.2014.939271

Year Published: 2016

There are significant merits to a comprehensive cognitive assessment, but they are also time-consuming, costly, and susceptible to practice effects and may not detect change in the context of medical interventions or minor brain disruptions. Brief computer-based assessments focused on “fluid” cognitive domains (e.g., information-processing skills), which are vulnerable to disruption as a result of a brain injury, may provide an alternative assessment option. This study sought to: (a) examine the utility of a well-established, adult-based computerized tool, CogSport for Kids (CogState), for evaluating information-processing skills in children and adolescents; and (b) to report normative data for healthy children and adolescents. The study was a cross-sectional, community-based observational study of typically developing children aged 9 to 17 years old (N = 832). Participants completed the CogSport for Kids test battery, which includes six brief computerized tasks that assess cognitive functions including processing speed, attention, and working memory. Results showed an improvement with age for response speed and accuracy. The greatest change occurred between 9 and 12 years with performance stabilizing at 15 years. This brief screening tool is appropriate for clinical and research use in children aged 9 years and older and may be used to track cognitive development from childhood into adulthood and to identify children who deviate from normal expectations.

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