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WCST

Wisconsin Card Sorting Test®

David A. Grant, PhD and Esta A. Berg, PhD; Professional Manual by Robert K. Heaton, PhD, Gordon J. Chelune, PhD, Jack L. Talley, PhD, Gary G. Kay, PhD, and Glenn Curtiss, PhD

Purpose:
Assesses perseveration and abstract reasoning
Format:
Paper and pencil
Age range:
6 years, 5 months to 89 years
Time:
20-30 minutes
Qualification level:
C
C
All qualifications for Level B plus an advanced professional degree that provides appropriate training in the administration and interpretation of psychological tests, or license or certification from an agency that requires appropriate training and experience in the ethical and competent use of psychological tests. Close

Used primarily to assess perseveration and abstract thinking, the WCST is also considered a measure of executive function because of its reported sensitivity to frontal lobe dysfunction. As such, the WCST allows you to assess your client’s strategic planning; organized searching; and ability to utilize environmental feedback to shift cognitive sets, direct behavior toward achieving a goal, and modulate impulsive responding.

Features and benefits

  • Completion of the WCST requires the ability to develop and maintain an appropriate problem-solving strategy across changing stimulus conditions in order to achieve a future goal.
  • Unlike other measures of abstraction, the WCST provides objective measures of overall success and identifies particular sources of difficulty on the task (e.g., inefficient initial conceptualization, perseveration, failure to maintain a cognitive set, inefficient learning across stages of the test).
  • When used with more comprehensive ability testing, the WCST is helpful in discriminating frontal from nonfrontal lesions.

Test structure

Four stimulus cards incorporate three stimulus parameters (color, form, and number). Respondents are required to sort numbered response cards according to different principles and to alter their approach during test administration. To complete the task, clients should have normal or corrected vision and hearing sufficient to adequately comprehend the instructions and to visually discriminate the stimulus parameters.

Technical information

  • Raw score to normalized standard, percentile, and T-score conversions are provided.
  • Normative data were derived from a sample of 899 normal children, adolescents, and adults.

Training DVD also available

This informative DVD tutorial provides detailed training in the standardized WCST administration and scoring procedures developed by Dr. Robert K. Heaton. The training package is particularly helpful for individuals who are just learning to administer this multifaceted neuropsychological instrument. It is also an excellent review for experienced clinicians and psychometricians.

Spanish version available! The WCST is also available in European Spanish.