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Brain Sci. 2019 Nov 29;9(12). pii: E349. doi: 10.3390/brainsci9120349.

A Meta-Analysis of Relationships between Measures of Wisconsin Card Sorting and Intelligence.

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Department of Neurology, Hannover Medical School, Carl-Neuberg-Straße 1, 30625 Hannover, Germany.
Behavioral Engineering Research Group, KU Leuven, Naamsestraat 69, 3000 Leuven, Belgium.


The Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) represents a widely utilized neuropsychological assessment technique for executive function. This meta-analysis examined the discriminant validity of the WCST for the assessment of mental shifting, considered as an essential subcomponent of executive functioning, against traditional psychometric intelligence tests. A systematic search was conducted, resulting in 72 neuropsychological samples for the meta-analysis of relationships between WCST scores and a variety of intelligence quotient (IQ) domains. The study revealed low to medium-sized correlations with IQ domains across all WCST scores that could be investigated. Verbal/crystallized IQ and performance/fluid IQ were indistinguishably associated with WCST scores. To conclude, the WCST assesses cognitive functions that might be partially separable from common conceptualizations of intelligence. More vigorous initiatives to validate putative indicators of executive function against intelligence are required.


Wisconsin Card Sorting Test; executive function; intelligence; meta-analysis; psychometrics; shifting; validity

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