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The structure of normal human attention: The Test of Everyday Attention

  • Ian H. Robertson (a1), Tony Ward (a1), Valerie Ridgeway (a1) and Ian Nimmo-Smith (a1)

Abstract

A range of tests of everyday attention is described, based on ecologically plausible activities such as searching maps, looking through telephone directories, and listening to lottery number broadcasts. An age-, sex- and IQ-stratified sample of 154 normal participants was given these tests, along with a number of existing tests of attention. The factor structure revealed by this data set matched well contemporary evidence for a set of functionally independent attentional circuits in the brain, and included factors for sustained attention, selective attention, attentional switching and auditory-verbal working memory. The Test of Everyday Attention (TEA), which was developed and standardized on the basis of these subtests, has three parallel forms, high test-retest reliability, and correlates significantly with existing measures of attention. Furthermore, selected subtests successfully discriminate among a number of brain-impaired groups, including closed head injury versus age-matched controls, minimal versus mild Alzheimer’s disease, and progressive supranuclear palsy patients versus age-matched controls. (JINS, 1996, 2, 525–534.)

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