Can the Trail Making Test be substituted by a 3D computerized visit to a supermarket? Clinical implications
Keywords: computerized assessment, selective attention, Trail Making Test, neuropsychology
AbstractIn the present study, we assessed the convergent validity and clinical utility of the Supermarket Test (ST), which is a 3D computerized selective attention test that resembles the everyday life situation of visiting a supermarket (navigate and identify as quickly as possible certain 3D target-objects, e.g., plates, kettles, toothbrushes). The ST and the Trail Making Test (TMT) were administered to a sample of 50 healthy Greek participants (N=33 males, mean age=38.02, SD=11.56). To test the clinical utility of the ST, we administered the test to patients with diagnoses known to affect attentional performance, such as psychiatric (schizophrenia, bipolar disorder) and neurological diagnoses (multiple sclerosis). Pearson’s r correlations between the performance indices on the ST and performance on the TMT revealed the existence of very high (r >.80) correlations. As regards the clinical utility of the ST, results from the case studies showed that patients presented a variety of difficulties (prolonged reaction times, errors and omissions) on the Supermarket subtest depending on their diagnosis. The very high correlations between the TMT and ST implies a similarity between the two tasks i.e., focusing on targets while simultaneously inhibiting other non-targets presented in the vicinity and alternating attention among the different stimuli. Thus, we conclude that the use of the ST could serve as a computerized analogue of the Trail Making Test resembling real-life situations. Also, the ST displayed excellent convergent validity with traditional attention tests and is, therefore, a valuable tool for the detection of attention disorders in patients.