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Trail Making Tests A and B

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The Trail-Making test is a measure of executive dysfunction.

The test is composed of two main parts (part A & part B). Part B differs from Part A specifically in that it assesses more complex factors of motor control and perception [1]. Part B of the Trail-Making test consists of multiple circles containing letters (A-J) and numbers (1-13). The participant’s objective for this test is to connect the circles in order, alternating between number and letter (e.g. 1-A-2-B) from start to finish [2]. The participant is required not to lift their pencil from the page. The task is also timed as a means of assessing speed of processing [3] . Set-switching tasks in Part B have low motor and perceptual selection demands, and therefore provide a clearer index of executive function [1]. Throughout this task, some of the executive function skills that are being measured include impulsivity, visual attention and motor speed [3].


  1. 1.0 1.1 Arbuthnott, K., Frank, J. (2000). Trail making test, part B as a measure of executive control: validation using a set-switching paradigm. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology. 22(4); 518-528
  2. Gaudino, E., Geisler, M., Squires, N. (1995). Construct validity in the trail making test: What makes part B harder? Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology. 17(4); 529-535
  3. 3.0 3.1 Conn, H. (1977). Trail-making and number-connection tests in the assessment of mental state in portal systemic encephalopathy. Digestive Diseases. 22(6); 541-550

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