Kyle Boone, Ph.D., Po Lu, Psy.D., and David Herzberg, Ph.D.
Like the Dot Counting Test (DCT), The b Test assesses test-taking effort in individuals ages 17 years and older. Unlike the DCT, The b Test offers entirely new and unfamiliar stimuli, making it ideal for forensic use.
Because The b Test assesses "overlearned" skills, individuals with cerebral dysfunction who try hard on the task will not be mistakenly classified as non-cooperative. Similarly, examinees who are feigning symptoms may be tempted to display their "impairment," in which case the test will flag their effort as suspect.
The b Test performance of 91 "suspect effort" patients (previously identified as "under attemptors" by rigorous inclusion and exclusion criteria) was compared to that of patients in 6 "normal effort" diagnostic groups: Depression, Schizophrenia, Head Injury, Stroke, and Learning Disability. Results verified the ability of The b Test to discriminate among patients based on their effort status.
In interpreting test scores, you may select a cut-off that minimises false positives while maintaining adequate sensitivity to "suspect effort." Simply compare the patient's performance to that of a similar reference group.
Like the DCT, The b Test is useful in any setting where examinees have external incentives to fabricate or exaggerate cognitive problems, personal injury litigation, disability evaluations, and criminal cases, for example. However, it need not be limited to these applications. There is increasing consensus among psychologists that effort tests should be a standard component of assessment practice. Administered in less than 15 minutes, The b Test is a quick, cost-effective way to routinely assess test-taking effort.
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