Psychology & Neuroscience
On-line version ISSN 1983-3288
WAGNER, Gabriela Peretti and TRENTINI, Clarissa Marceli. Assessing executive functions in older adults: a comparison between the manual and the computer-based versions of the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test. Psychol. Neurosci. (Online) [online]. 2009, vol.2, n.2, pp. 195-198. ISSN 1983-3288. http://dx.doi.org/10.3922/j.psns.2009.2.011.
Executive functions (EF) are a group of high-level cognitive processes that control and direct lower-level abilities in order to produce goal-directed behavior. Because these functions are a multidimensional entity, they can be assessed using different tests. One of the tests often used to evaluate EF is the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST). The WCST is a task that involves hypothesis testing, identification of concepts, resistance to interference, switching categories, and inhibition. Two versions of the task have been used in neuropsychological testing, but little is known about their equivalence. In this study, we investigated the performance of two groups of elderly people in two versions of the task: manual (cards) and computer-based. Fifty-four healthy elderly participants took part in this study; half of the sample was assessed with the computer-based version of the WCST, while the other half performed the manual version. There were no differences between the two versions of the task in our sample of elderly participants (total number correct, perseverative errors, percent conceptual level responses, and number of categories completed). In this sense, the results provide evidence for the equivalence of both versions in the assessment of EF in healthy elderly participants.
Keywords : Wisconsin Card Sorting Test; executive functions; aging.