Establishing stable test performance in tests from the Behavioral Assessment and Research System (BARS)

D. S. Rohlman, S. R. Bailey, M. Brown, M. Blanock, W. K. Anger, L. McCauley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Research to identify adverse effects in humans chronically exposed to neurotoxic substances in the workplace or environment typically assesses people at one point in time in a cross-sectional study. The most widely used strategy employs performance measures taken from a single point in time and compares these with either performance of a control group or established normative data. However, multiple comparison points of the same people on the same test allow the dissection of acute - from chronic - exposure effects, among other important questions. When performance measures are used from multiple points in time, within-subject deviations are examined. For either research design, the goal is to minimize the effects of practice and to obtain stable performance on a test. Demographic variables such as age, education, and cultural background or ethnicity influence performance on neurobehavioral tests. These variables may also influence the development of stable performance. Different populations may have different learning curves so that stable performance on a test is achieved with different amounts of practice. This is especially important when making comparisons across groups that may not have equivalent backgrounds. The performance of three groups, English-speaking adults, Spanish-speaking adolescents, and Spanish-speaking migrant adolescents, was examined. Each group completed a battery of neurobehavioral tests from the Behavioral Assessment and Research System (BARS) during four sessions. Repeated measures ANOVAs were used to investigate performance across time. Tests measuring motor performance produced stable performance from the first session. More complex tasks that involved attention and memory showed a practice effect across sessions. (C) 2000 Intox Press, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)715-724
Number of pages10
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2000


  • Computerized assessment
  • Latino
  • Migrant
  • Neurobehavioral assessment
  • Repeat testing
  • Test-retest

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Toxicology


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