Clinical neuropsychological assessment: Abbreviating the Halstead Category Test of brain dysfunction

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Boyle, G. (2012). Clinical neuropsychological assessment: Abbreviating the Halstead Category Test of brain dysfunction. In G.J. Boyle, D.H. Saklofske & G. Matthews (Eds.), Psychological Assessment vol 1- 4 (pp. 169- 181). London, United Kingdom: Sage Publications Ltd.

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2012 HERDC submission. FoR code: 170109

© Copyright Introduction and editorial arrangement by Gregory J. Boyle, Donald H. Saklofske & Gerald Matthews, 2012





The Halstead-Reitan neuropsychological battery has received considerable attention in the literature in recent years (e.g., Gilandas, Touyz, Beaumont, & Greenberg, 1985; Logue & Schear, 1984; Reitan & Davison, 1974; Russell, Neuringer, & Goldstein, 1970). The Halstead-Reitan battery has been shown to compare favorably with the Luria-Nebraska neuropsychological battery in efficiently discriminating between brain-injured and normal individuals (cf. Golden, Kane, Sweet, Moses, Cardellino, Templeton, Vicente, & Graber, 1981; Kane, Sweet, & Moses, 1979; Spiers, 1982). According to Golden et al. (p. 410), "the Halstead-Reitan Neuropsychological Battery... has been recognized by many as the preeminent standardized neuropsychological battery." (Cf. Golden & Kuperman, 1980). A major difficulty with the Halstead-Reitan battery, however, is the excessive time required for its administration to patients with organic brain damage (cf. Erickson, Calsyn, & Scheupbach, 1978).

In particular, one component of the Halstead-Reitan battery, the Halstead Category Test (HCT), may take up to 2 hours to administer to a patient with organic brain impairment. The HCT is a concept formation measure wherein the patient is required to discover the underlying concept category for each of the seven sub-tests. Stimuli that comprise geometric shapes, letters, etc., are projected onto a screen, and the patient is required to press one of four response option buttons. A correct response is followed by the sound of a bell, while an incorrect response results in the sound of a buzzer. Subtests in the HCT utilize concepts such as: Number of objects; shaded-in proportions of figures; ordinal position of an odd stimulus, etc. (Cf. Gregory, Paul, & Morrison, 1979.) According to Adams and Trenton (1981), the HCT is almost as sensitive as the full Halstead-Reitan battery in determining the presence or absence of organic brain damage. The importance of the HCT in clinical neuropsychological assessment has been evident from numerous studies (e.g., Boll, 1981; Dodrill, 1979; Filskov & Boll, 1981; Finlayson, Johnson, & Reitan, 1977; Hevern, 1980; Parsons & Prigatano, 1978; Seidenberg, Giordani, Berent, & Boll, 1983). Several attempts to simplify the mode of presentation of the HCT have been tried (e.g., Adams & Trenton, 1981; DeFilippis, McCampbell, & Rogers, 1979; Kimura, 1981; Wood & Strider, 1980), such as transforming the mechanical mode of presentation to a paper-and-pencil or card method. Despite these attempts, the basic difficulty with the HCT remained: Namely, its excessive length and time needed for administration.

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