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Review
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A Meta-Analysis of Relationships Between Measures of Wisconsin Card Sorting and Intelligence

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Review

A Meta-Analysis of Relationships Between Measures of Wisconsin Card Sorting and Intelligence

Bruno Kopp et al. Brain Sci.

Abstract

The Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) represents a widely utilized neuropsychological assessment technique for executive function. This meta-analysis examined the discriminant validity of the WCST for the assessment of mental shifting, considered as an essential subcomponent of executive functioning, against traditional psychometric intelligence tests. A systematic search was conducted, resulting in 72 neuropsychological samples for the meta-analysis of relationships between WCST scores and a variety of intelligence quotient (IQ) domains. The study revealed low to medium-sized correlations with IQ domains across all WCST scores that could be investigated. Verbal/crystallized IQ and performance/fluid IQ were indistinguishably associated with WCST scores. To conclude, the WCST assesses cognitive functions that might be partially separable from common conceptualizations of intelligence. More vigorous initiatives to validate putative indicators of executive function against intelligence are required.

Keywords: Wisconsin Card Sorting Test; executive function; intelligence; meta-analysis; psychometrics; shifting; validity.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Flow chart depicting the selection of articles for our meta-analysis.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Funnel plots illustrating the relationships between effect sizes and their standard errors. Straight vertical lines indicate the average meta-analytical effect size obtained for the respective correlation between a WCST score (categories, perseverations) and intelligence domain (FSIQ, VIQ, PIQ). Dotted vertical lines display zero effects for comparison. WCST = Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, FSIQ = full scale IQ, VIQ = verbal IQ, PIQ = performance IQ.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Effect sizes of the correlation between WCST perseverations and performance IQ as a function of participants’ mean age. Effect sizes are sorted from youngest (top) to oldest (bottom) sample. The size of black-filled circles is proportional to sample size. White-filled circles indicate average effect sizes across age groups. WCST = Wisconsin Card Sorting Test.

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