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PEBL Trail-making task

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Screen shot of PEBL's Trail-making Task

For a stand-alone demonstration version of the test, look at the Simple Trailmaking Demo.

Contents

About

The "Trail-making" test is a test that is apparently used for detecting different kinds of brain injury, and has also traditionally been used as a test of eye-hand coordination and probably procedural skill. The most common version is by Reitan, as part of the Halstad-Reitan Battery, but it apparently goes back at least 60 years to tests like the Taylor Number Series and the Partington Pathways test, and it became a part of the Army testing batteries during WWII.

The PEBL version of the Trail-making task has options that allow running in the form of Reitan's original configurations, or with automatically-generated sets of new problems on each run, which are used by default. We recommend the auto-generated version, as it allows more runs for better reliability, and runs each problem in both forms (A and B), with the points reflected to obscure the similarity between the two problems. This provides a better comparison between forms as well.

Notes

It can either be used with the classic Reitan points, or randomly generated new points. For the classic points, the paths are set up so that they do not cross. For randomly-generated points, the paths are likely to cross.


Options

Look for the following lines in ptrails.pbl to change options:


  useReitan  <- 0    ##Whether to use Reitan's points in the mix.
  useShortPath <- 1  ## Whether to shorten the path so points tend to
                     ## be adjacent (for non-reitan problems)

  numtrials <- 5    ##total number of trials per condition (A and B)
  	            ##if usereitan == 1, 2 of them will be the Reitan configurations


  gTargSize <- 25      ##Size in pixels of targets (radius)
  gTargclickSize <- 25 ##Size of click zone; may be smaller or larger
                       ##than target
  gNumTargs <- 26      #Number of targets
  gDrawLines <- 1      #Whether to draw lines
  
  ##Parameters controlling printable area for dots
  gxmin <- 50
  gxmax <- 750
  gymin <- 50
  gymax <- 550  

  gtol <- gTargSize*2+2     #tolerance, in pixels, between points

  gStimColor <- MakeColor("darkblue")
  gAccentColor <- MakeColor("yellow")

Data Output

There are two files produced for each test; one which is a click-by-click log, and a second (marked -summary.txt) which writes one line per test.

ptrails-X.txt:

0 1 1 1 6559 234 384 1 1 905 905
0 1 2 2 7190 233 465 1 2 631 631
0 1 3 3 8070 439 471 1 3 880 880
0 1 4 4 9166 396 380 1 4 1096 1096
0 1 5 5 9511 466 350 1 5 345 345
0 1 6 6 9855 506 344 1 6 344 344
0 1 7 7 10599 520 516 1 7 744 744
0 1 8 8 11030 572 450 1 8 431 431
0 1 9 9 11390 619 409 1 9 360 360
0 1 10 10 11799 671 484 1 10 409 409

The above columns are:

-subject_code
-trial (problem number) 
-clicks
-hits
-clicktime (in ms, since program started)
-xclickposition
-yclickpos
-correct
-id
-time_since_last_click
-time_since_last_successful_click

ptrails-summaryy-X.txt:

0 1 2625.77 905 14048 505 26 28 0.928571
0 2 2625.77 1039 15832 571 26 32 0.8125
0 1 2502.43 1399 13583 519 26 29 0.896552
0 2 2611.01 1115 11817 435 26 28 0.928571
0 1 2611.01 1076 13304 444 26 30 0.866667
0 2 2761.9 1731 11040 381 26 26 1

The summary produces one line per problem:

-subject_code
-problem_type
-total_distance of problem
-study_time (time to first click)
-total solution time
-median time per click
-number of  'hits' (should be 26 for this test)
-number of clicks needed to solve the problem
-an efficiency score (if perfect clicking, will equal 1)


To Cite

Published Articles using Test

  • Piper, B. J., Li, V., Eiwaz, M. A., Kobel, Y. V., Benice, T. S., Chu, A. M., Olsen, R. H. J., et al. (2011). Executive function on the Psychology Experiment Building Language tests. Behavior Research Methods. doi:10.3758/s13428-011-0096-6

References

  • Atkinson, T. M., & Ryan, J. P. (2008). The Use of Variants of the Trail Making Test in Serial Assessment: A Construct Validity Study. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 26(1), 42-53. doi:10.1177/0734282907301592
  • Buck, K. K., Atkinson, T. M., & Ryan, J. P. (2008). Evidence of practice effects in variants of the Trail Making Test during serial assessment. Journal of Clinical & Experimental Neuropsychology, 30(3), 312-318.


See Also

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