Human behavioral assessment in neurotoxicology: Producing appropriate test performance with written and shaping instructions

Wyndham Anger, Diane Rohlman, O. J. Sizemore, Craig A. Kovera, Michael Gibertini, Jiin Ger

46 Scopus citations


Neurotoxic effects are of such breadth and complexity that functional biomarkers (behavioral tests) that integrate many areas of the nervous system predominate in human neurotoxicology research. The increasing distribution of chemical and other manufacturing throughout the world, particularly in developing nations, suggests the acute need to develop biomarkers for chemical exposures and effects that can be employed internationally. A language-free method for training performance on behavioral tests is described, which holds promise for international research that circumvents the vagaries of translation. Pour behavioral tests were administered to 74-114 adult US subjects. Procedures, collectively termed shaping, produced effective performance on three tests [Symbol Digit, Vigilant Attention Test (VAT), Digit Span Forward and Backward], and produced appropriate but unacceptably slow performance in initial testing on the Simple Reaction Time test. Effective performance on the Symbol-Digit test also was produced by shaping instructions, without assistance from examiners, in small groups of residents of Taipei (Taiwan) and US children between the ages of 5 and 16.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-379
Number of pages9
JournalNeurotoxicology and Teratology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1996



  • BARS
  • Behavioral Assessment and Research System
  • Behavioral biomarkers
  • NES2
  • Neuropsychological tests
  • Neurotoxicology
  • Stimulus control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Toxicology

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