Friday, March 6, 2015

How about getting the computer to do the WAIS?

Prof Arthur Shores alerted me to two computerized tools that he believes are under utilised in Australia. One of them is MAB II. I have to admit that while the name rings some distant bells, I have not looked at this test before.

And I should have.

This test is incredibly similar to the WAIS, with the following subtests:

Verbal: Information, Comprehension, Arithmetic, Similarities, Vocabulary
Performance: Digit Symbol, Picture Completion, Spatial, Picture Arrangement, Object Assembly

It is for adults 16+ and has a multiple choice response format. It has been used by the NASA and in selection of pilots, as well as in research.

It computes VIQ, PIQ and FSIQ and can be administered individually, in groups or on a computer. It appears to be an analogue to WAIS-R, with no separate WMI and PRI indexes, but it seems to do what it does quite well:

The normative group consisted of 1600 subjects (2200 for WAIS-IV), in 9 age groups (13 for WAIS-IV)

Test-retest reliability is .95 for VIQ, .96 for PIQ and .97 for FSIQ
For WAIS-IV it is .95 for VCI, .85 for PRI and .95 for FSIQ

Internal consistency is .87, while WAIS has internal consistencies in the .90s, so it scores somewhat worse there.

What I really wanted to know is how close it is to WAIS, but haven't found it on the internet apart from the statement from the test creators that said:

Correlations between the MAB II and a widely used individual IQ measure are:
Full Scale = .91
Performance correlation = .79
Verbal correlation = .94
I have a sneaking suspicion that they refer to WAIS-R, but cannot be sure.

I also want to know how I managed not to know that there is a reasonable computerised IQ test around. Shame on me.

I'm sure that this test won't work in all situations, and that we'll naturally default to WAIS for most of our clinical needs. But I believe that there are assessments that can be done using MAB II instead. I would argue, for example, that it beats short forms of the WAIS.

Arthur sent me several articles in which MAB II has been used, together with MicroCog (this one is for another post) to track some relatively subtle cognitive changes. This seems like a good test.

I have not (yet!) bought it, so cannot comment on the ease of use. Do people use it? How smooth is it? What populations do you use it with? Please let us know in the comments



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