I am trying to model the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, which is why I've asked many questions on this site in regards to that topic.

One of my questions is in regards to the rules of the test. According to this Wikipedia talk page, divulging rules and methodologies of psychological tests undermines the reliability of neuropsychological tests.

What is the opinion of this site on the matter?


I would say that given the pervasiveness of research on the WCST in academic papers and textbooks, we are not in danger of revealing any information that isn't available to an potential examinee at the public library. That said, a question along the lines of "How do I cheat the WCST?" outlining how to get around the test would probably need to be culled. It's really up to those posting questions on the site to police themselves, as I don't think a formal policy would be very effective, and might smother good discussions about the cognitive characteristics that are being tested.

I understand the point that the neuropsychologists are making on the Wikipedia Talk page, which amounts to the idea that people knowing the scoring system can undermine the test. Parenthetically, I think they are overestimating the damage this could cause. In research, where this foreknowledge of the exam would be most damaging, an experienced investigator would be screening subjects anyway, and in the clinic, there are a battery of other tests and signs that are available to confirm the results of the WCST.

So, in summary, being judicious about what you elect to disclose is probably the best approach. Stack Exchange is a medium for the exchange of knowledge and ideas, so completely censoring talk about what is a critical part of neuropsychological research would be counterproductive.

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    I think as long as we're not disclosing the actual items or materials of a test, there's no real problem. – Christian Hummeluhr Apr 16 '15 at 8:15
  • I also wonder how much a test is flawed if knowing how it works makes it ineffective. But that's a separate question :-) – Josh Apr 16 '15 at 15:10
  • Very true, @josh – Chuck Sherrington Apr 16 '15 at 15:13
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    @JoshGitlin That depends whether you're coming at it from a research or clinical perspective. For research purposes, such tests are obviously a last-resort option for multiple reasons, but for clinical purposes, whatever gets the job done has real value that we should avoid diminishing by posting test items. Discussing the tests and their methods more generally is always acceptable, of course. – Christian Hummeluhr Apr 16 '15 at 15:46

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