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The Brixton Spatial Anticipation Test as a test for executive function: Validity in patient groups and norms for older adults

  • ESTHER VAN DEN BERG (a1), GUDRUN M. S. NYS (a2), AUGUSTINA M. A. BRANDS (a3) (a4), CARLA RUIS (a1) (a4), MARTINE J. E. VAN ZANDVOORT (a1) (a4) and ROY P. C. KESSELS (a4) (a5) (a6)...

Impairments in executive functioning frequently occur after acquired brain damage, in psychiatric disorders, and in relation to aging. The Brixton Spatial Anticipation Test is a relatively new measure for assessing the ability to detect and follow a rule, an important aspect of executive functioning. To date, normative data on this task are limited, particularly concerning the elderly. This study presents age- and education-adjusted regression-based norms obtained in a group of healthy older participants (n = 283; mean age 67.4 ± 8.5 years). The applicability and validity of these norms were further examined in different groups of patients with stroke (n = 106), diabetes mellitus (n = 376), MCI/early dementia (n = 70), psychiatric disorders (n = 63), and Korsakoff’s syndrome (n = 41). The results showed that patients with Korsakoff’s syndrome, stroke, and psychiatric disorders performed significantly worse than healthy controls. Test-retest correlation (n = 83), learning effects, and correlations with other neuropsychological tests were also explored. Based on the present study, the Brixton test appears a useful addition to existing measures of executive functioning. Moreover, the test can be reliably applied in different groups of clinical patients. (JINS, 2009, 15, 695–703.)

Corresponding author
*Correspondence and reprint requests: Esther van den Berg, University Medical Center Utrecht, Department of Neurology G03.228, P.O. Box 85500, 3508 GA Utrecht, The Netherlands. E-mail:
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