Friday, January 11, 2013

Students and faculty member present, "Differential Anterior and Posterior Neurocognitive Components for Processing the Complex Figure" at Fielding's Winter Session 2013

Leslie Carrion, Student, School of Psychology; Cinamon Romers, Student, School of Psychology; Henry Soper, Faculty, School of Psychology

Neuropsychological tests can be very complex in that to be successful the information must be processed in several areas of the brain, several functional units. The Rey-Osterreith Complex Figure test is one such test. Trauma to several areas of the brain can cause someone to do poorly on the test, but the current popular scoring system simply counts the number of items which were reproduced. The qualitative differences between the reproductions of people with posterior traumata have been well documented, but it is clear that frontal, executive difficulties also cause problems through poor planning and organization. Clinically it appears that those with anterior problems often can copy the stimulus relatively well, due to the structure provided by the stimulus, but when asked to recall the image the structure is no longer provided and the reproduction tends to be very poor. However, there is no research base for this observation. Therefore, archival data were culled for those who had been administered the Rey Osterreith copy and immediate recall and either the Trailmaking Test B (N = 62), an assessment of frontal functioning, or the Street Completion Test (N = 67), an assessment of posterior functioning, or both. The complex figure immediate recall score was subtracted from the copy score, and then these scores were correlated with frontal and posterior function. As hypothesized the difference score was significantly correlated with the frontal task, but in addition it was also significantly correlated with the posterior task, even though the correlation between the two localization scores was effectively nil (p = -.028). These results show that the task involves major processing contributions from at least two areas of the brain, and the inputs are effectively orthogonal.

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