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Neuropsychologia. 2017 Jul 28;102:95-108. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2017.05.027. Epub 2017 May 25.

Cognitive persistence: Development and validation of a novel measure from the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test.

Author information

1
Dept. of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina, 135 Rutledge Ave MSC 550, Charleston, SC 29425, United States. Electronic address: teubnera@musc.edu.
2
Dept. of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina, 135 Rutledge Ave MSC 550, Charleston, SC 29425, United States.
3
Dept. of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina, 135 Rutledge Ave MSC 550, Charleston, SC 29425, United States. Electronic address: eckert@musc.edu.

Abstract

The Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) has long been used as a neuropsychological assessment of executive function abilities, in particular, cognitive flexibility or "set-shifting". Recent advances in scoring the task have helped to isolate specific WCST performance metrics that index set-shifting abilities and have improved our understanding of how prefrontal and parietal cortex contribute to set-shifting. We present evidence that the ability to overcome task difficulty to achieve a goal, or "cognitive persistence", is another important prefrontal function that is characterized by the WCST and that can be differentiated from efficient set-shifting. This novel measure of cognitive persistence was developed using the WCST-64 in an adult lifespan sample of 230 participants. The measure was validated using individual variation in cingulo-opercular cortex function in a sub-sample of older adults who had completed a challenging speech recognition in noise fMRI task. Specifically, older adults with higher cognitive persistence were more likely to demonstrate word recognition benefit from cingulo-opercular activity. The WCST-derived cognitive persistence measure can be used to disentangle neural processes involved in set-shifting from those involved in persistence.

KEYWORDS:

Persistence; Prefrontal cortex; Set-shifting; Speech recognition; Wisconsin Card Sorting Test

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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