Although many tests exist to detect and measure breakdown in language processing there are very few tests which are designed to measure the more common slowing in cognitive processes that can be experienced by brain damaged subjects.
The authors have developed two sensitive measures which addresses this.
The first, The Speed of Comprehension Test, allows the rate of information processing to be measured; and the second, The Spot-the-Word Test, provides a framework for interpreting the results of the first test.
Hence The Speed and Capacity of Language-Processing Test (SCOLP) enables differentiation between a subject who has always been slow and a subject whose performance has been impaired as a result of brain damage or some other stressor.
The SCOLP is brief and easy to administer and will be particularly useful to neurologists, geriatricians, clinical psychologists, occupational therapists and speech therapists.
The Speed of Comprehension Test
The subject verifies as many sentences as possible in two minutes. The sentences are all obviously true or are false, being based on a mismatch of subject and predicate from true sentences.
Such combinations can be rather bizarre, hence the test is sometimes referred to as ‘Silly Sentences’.
Errors tend to be uniformly low in most groups of patients, while speed proves to be a very sensitive and reliable measure.
The Spot-the-Word Vocabulary Test
The subject is given pairs of items, each comprising one real word and one non-word, and required to indicate the real word.
Words range from common to very obscure. Number correct correlates with verbal intelligence and vocabulary. Sixty pairs are presented and performance is un-speeded.
There are two parallel forms. Parallel form reliability, calculated on a sample of 224, was 0.88.
Correlates strongly with the Mill Hill Vocabulary Test and National Adult Reading Test (NART).
The test was devised to be resistant to the effects of stress or brain damage.
The test is sensitive to the effects of closed head injury, normal ageing, Alzheimer’s disease and Schizophrenia, and to a wide range of drugs and stressors, including alcohol, benzo-diazapines, and High Pressure Nervous Syndrome.
Norms are available (age range 16 years to 65 years) to assess the extent to which comprehension speed deviates from that predicted by vocabulary.
This provides an indication of the probable degree of cognitive impairment.