Emotional impact on trail making test performance

Psychol Rep. 1990 Oct;67(2):435-8. doi: 10.2466/pr0.1990.67.2.435.


This study assessed the effect of emotional factors on Trail Making Test Part B performance for a sample of 105 neuropsychological referrals for whom there was no neurodiagnostic evidence of brain damage. Trails B scores declined in relation to elevated MMPI scores on Scales 6, 7, and 8, though only nine patients performed within the impaired range. The results suggest that (a) Trails B performance is resilient to a variety of emotional influences, (b) psychotic symptoms and severe anxiety impede Trails B performance, though rarely to the extent caused by brain damage, and (c) the MMPI provides objective criteria that help rule out emotional effects on Trails B performance.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention*
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / diagnosis*
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / psychology
  • Emotions*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • MMPI
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests*
  • Psychometrics
  • Psychomotor Performance*
  • Reaction Time*