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Ecological validity of neuropsychological tests for predicting navigational ability

29 July 2005


Performance on neuropsychological tests is often used as a basis to predict an individual's ability to function independently in everyday activities. However, there is limited empirical evidence regarding how accurately neuropsychological tests predict real-world abilities. The purpose of the present study was to determine if performance on neuropsychological measures discriminate between patients who can and those who cannot navigate in their environment. Participants were 383 inpatients at an acute rehabilitation facility. The patients were assessed using a variety of neuropsychological measures and their ability to independently navigate a standard route was determined. Logistical regression analyses were conducted and only neuropsychological measures of visual-spatial processing (Rey-Osterreith Complex Figure Test copy) and delayed verbal memory (Logical Memory II of the Wechsler Memory Scale - R/Ill) were significant predictors of navigational ability . Clinical implications of the findings are discussed.


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