Abstract

A modified computer version of the PASAT (Adjusting-PSAT; Tombaugh, 1999) is described that measures speed of information processing and working memory by means of a temporal threshold rather than number of correct responses. This is accomplished by making the duration of the interval between numbers depend on the correctness of responding—a correct response decreases the interval between digits and an incorrect response increases the interval. Modality of presentation (visual and auditory) was factorially combined with problem difficulty (answers between 2–10 or 2–18). Performance of 60 healthy student volunteers on the Adjusting-PSAT was compared to that obtained on several traditional neuropsychological measures (Digit Span, Trail Making Test, and Symbol Digit Modality Test) and on a test of basic addition skills. The visual version of the test produced a lower threshold than did the auditory version, but problem difficulty did not produce a significant effect. Of the neuropsychological tests, Trails-B (TMT-B) was most highly correlated with thresholds. However, regression analyses revealed that math ability accounted for more variance than did TMT-B. The clinical implications of these finding are discussed.

Author notes

This article was presented in part at the 21 annual meeting of the National Academy of Neuropsychology, San Francisco, CA, November, 2001. This article was based in part on a thesis by Jodie Royan submitted to Carleton University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a Master's degree in Psychology.