The Computerized WCST

In References on June 24, 2009 at 8:54 am

Attention: This is a computer version of the WCST. Is there any differences between a usual version  vs. computer version?



Kaland, Smith, & Mortensen (2008). Brief report: Cognitive flexibility and focused attention in children and adolescents with AS or HFA as measured on the computerized version of the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST). Journal of Autism Developmental Disorders, 38, 1161-1165.


A majority of individuals with ASD are subject to a social-cognitive dysfunction. Another cognitive deficit in ASD is executive dysfunction (see the school of Ozonoff).

This study of cognitive flexibility and focused attention employed WCST. This instrument is commonly regarded as “the gold standard executive function task.” It promises to be a highly sensitive indicator of executive functions, especially such as mental flexibility, planning, and set maintenance.


The participants in the AS group performed below the level of the control group on all measures of the WCST. However, the differences the groups were not statistically significant, except for the category failure to maintain set.


The previous studies with the WCST showed inconsistent findings.


Studies that include participants fro across the autism spectrum are needed in answering basic questions about the universality of executive function impairments in this spectrum and also the external validity of subtypes, for example Asperger syndrome. There is still uncertainty about which executive and non-executive functions the WCST measures: while generally considered to be a test of cognitive flexibility.


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