Evaluation of the Trail Making Test and interval timing as measures of cognition in healthy adults: Comparisons by age, education, and gender
Włodzimierz Płotek, Wojciech Łyskawa, Anna Kluzik, Małgorzata Grześkowiak, Roland Podlewski, Zbigniew Żaba, Leon Drobnik
(Department of Teaching Anaesthesiology and Intensive Therapy, Poznań University of Medical Sciences, Poznań, Poland)
Med Sci Monit 2014; 20:173-181
Human cognitive functioning can be assessed using different methods of testing. Age, level of education, and gender may influence the results of cognitive tests.
Material and Methods: The well-known Trail Making Test (TMT), which is often used to measure the frontal lobe function, and the experimental test of Interval Timing (IT) were compared. The methods used in IT included reproduction of auditory and visual stimuli, with the subsequent production of the time intervals of 1-, 2-, 5-, and 7-seconds durations with no pattern. Subjects included 64 healthy adult volunteers aged 18–63 (33 women, 31 men). Comparisons were made based on age, education, and gender.
Results: TMT was performed quickly and was influenced by age, education, and gender. All reproduced visual and produced intervals were shortened and the reproduction of auditory stimuli was more complex. Age, education, and gender have more pronounced impact on the cognitive test than on the interval timing test. The reproduction of the short auditory stimuli was more accurate in comparison to other modalities used in the IT test.
Conclusions: The interval timing, when compared to the TMT, offers an interesting possibility of testing. Further studies are necessary to confirm the initial observation.
Keywords: Analysis of Variance, Age Factors, Adult, Cognition - physiology, Educational Status, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Sex Factors, Statistics, Nonparametric, Time Factors, Time Perception - physiology, Trail Making Test - standards