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Language Measures of the NIH Toolbox Cognition Battery

  • Richard C. Gershon (a1), Karon F. Cook (a1), Dan Mungas (a2), Jennifer J. Manly (a3), Jerry Slotkin (a1), Jennifer L. Beaumont (a1) and Sandra Weintraub (a4)...


Language facilitates communication and efficient encoding of thought and experience. Because of its essential role in early childhood development, in educational achievement and in subsequent life adaptation, language was included as one of the subdomains in the NIH Toolbox for the Assessment of Neurological and Behavioral Function Cognition Battery (NIHTB-CB). There are many different components of language functioning, including syntactic processing (i.e., morphology and grammar) and lexical semantics. For purposes of the NIHTB-CB, two tests of language—a picture vocabulary test and a reading recognition test—were selected by consensus based on literature reviews, iterative expert input, and a desire to assess in English and Spanish. NIHTB-CB’s picture vocabulary and reading recognition tests are administered using computer adaptive testing and scored using item response theory. Data are presented from the validation of the English versions in a sample of adults ages 20–85 years (Spanish results will be presented in a future publication). Both tests demonstrated high test–retest reliability and good construct validity compared to corresponding gold-standard measures. Scores on the NIH Toolbox measures were consistent with age-related expectations, namely, growth in language during early development, with relative stabilization into late adulthood. (JINS, 2014, 20, 1–10)


Corresponding author

Correspondence and reprint requests to: Richard Gershon, Northwestern University, Suite 2700, 625 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611. E-mail:


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