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NIH Toolbox Cognition Battery (CB): Validation of Executive Function Measures in Adults

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 June 2014

Philip David Zelazo*
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Jacob E. Anderson
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Jennifer Richler
Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana
Kathleen Wallner-Allen
Westat, Inc., Rockville, Maryland
Jennifer L. Beaumont
Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois
Kevin P. Conway
National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
Richard Gershon
Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois
Sandra Weintraub
Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois
Correspondence and reprint requests to: Philip David Zelazo, Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota, 51 East River Road, Minneapolis, MN 55455-0345. E-mail:


This study describes psychometric properties of the NIH Toolbox Cognition Battery (NIHTB-CB) executive function measures in an adult sample. The NIHTB-CB was designed for use in epidemiologic studies and clinical trials for ages 3 to 85. A total of 268 self-described healthy adults were recruited at four university-based sites, using stratified sampling guidelines to target demographic variability for age (20–85 years), gender, education and ethnicity. The NIHTB-CB contains two computer-based instruments assessing executive function: the Dimensional Change Card Sort (a measure of cognitive flexibility) and a flanker task (a measure of inhibitory control and selective attention). Participants completed the NIHTB-CB, corresponding gold standard convergent and discriminant measures, and sociodemographic questionnaires. A subset of participants (N=89) was retested 7 to 21 days later. Results reveal excellent sensitivity to age-related changes during adulthood, excellent test–retest reliability, and adequate to good convergent and discriminant validity. The NIH Toolbox EF measures can be used effectively in epidemiologic and clinical studies. (JINS, 2014, 20, 1–10)

Special Series
Copyright © The International Neuropsychological Society 2014 

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