An analysis of the Trail Making tests' component neurocognitive processes
Stepak, Brenda Sue
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The Trail Making test was parsed into subcomponent tasks (or subtests) using the Boston Process approach and analyzed in order to explore the underlying abilities - motor speed, visual spatial scanning, sequencing, attention and cognitive flexibility. Also analyzed were the effects that the demographic variables (age, education and sex) have on the original Trails tasks and the parsed subcomponents. Ninety healthy participants were administered the Trails tasks and the new subtests. Reliability, and face validity were examined. A principal components analysis was conducted to further explore the relationships between the subtests and to reduce the data into composite variables. This resulted in a 2-factor oblique solution (Visuomotor and Cognitive). MANCOVA revealed that age had a significant effect on the Trails A and B scores [F(2, 82) = 22.141, p < .00051 and on the new component scores (Visuomotor and Cognitive, F (2,81) = 32.807, p < .0005). Education also significantly affected the new component scores [F(2,81) = 3.767, p = .027] but not Trails A or B. No significant relationship was found between sex and test performance. A preliminary normative database (N = 90) was developed for future expansion.