A pilot examination of the validity of stylus and finger drawing on visuomotor-mediated tests on ACEmobile
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INTRODUCTION: Cognitive assessments, such as the Addenbrooke's Cognitive Examination (ACE-III) and Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), have been modified for administration using tablet computers. While this offers important advantages for practice, it may also threaten the test validity. The current study sought to test whether administering visuospatial and writing tests using a tablet (finger or stylus drawing), would demonstrate equivalence to traditional pencil and paper administration on ACEmobile. METHOD: This study recruited 26 participants with Alzheimer's disease and 23 healthy older adults. Most participants had low familiarity with using a tablet computer. Participants completed ACEmobile in its entirety, after which they repeated the infinity loops, cube, and clock drawing and sentence writing tests by drawing with a stylus and their finger onto an iPad. Performance on the drawing and writing tests using a stylus, finger, and pencil were compared. RESULTS: Statistically significant differences were observed between the finger and pencil administration on the ACEmobile, with participants performing worse on the finger drawing trials. Differences in scores were most apparent on the sentence writing task. In contrast, no statistical differences were observed between the pencil and stylus administration. DISCUSSION: The findings of this pilot study have important implications for clinical neuropsychology and demonstrate that administering ACEmobile drawing tests with finger drawing is invalid. However, due to the small sample size, a lack of counterbalancing and the narrow range of scores of the dependent variable, we are unable to confidently interpret the validity of stylus drawing. This is an important consideration for future research.
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