Practice effects associated with the repeated assessment of cognitive function using the CogState battery at 10-minute, one week and one month test-retest intervals

March 18, 2015

Authors: Marina G Falleti, Paul Maruff, Alexander Collie, David G Darby

Journal: Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology

DOI: 10.1080/13803390500205718

Year Published: 2006

There are many situations in which cognitive tests need to be administered on more than two occasions and at very brief test-retest intervals to detect change in group performance. However, previous literature has not specifically addressed these important issues. The main aim of the current study was to examine these two factors by using a computerized cognitive battery designed specifically for the repeated assessment of cognition (i.e., CogState) in healthy young adult individuals. A further aim of the study was to examine how many times the battery needed to be completed before performance, as measured by the battery, stabilized. Forty-five adults (age range: 18-40 years) completed the battery four times at 10-minute test-retest intervals, and a fifth time at an interval of one week. The results illustrated that when brief test-retest intervals were used (i.e., 10 minutes), performance stabilized after the second assessment, as significant practice effects were generally observed between the first and the second assessments. Practice effects were also observed on some of the tasks at a one-week test-retest interval. Due to these findings, 55 adults (age range: 18-40 years) completed the battery twice at 10-minute test-retest intervals (i.e., to eliminate the initial practice effect), and a third time at an interval of one month. No practice effects were observed. The implications of the results are discussed in terms of methods that can be adopted in order to minimize practice effects when this particular cognitive battery is used.

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