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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The NIH Toolbox Cognition Battery: results from a large normative developmental sample (PING).

  • Author(s): Akshoomoff, Natacha
  • Newman, Erik
  • Thompson, Wesley K
  • McCabe, Connor
  • Bloss, Cinnamon S
  • Chang, Linda
  • Amaral, David G
  • Casey, BJ
  • Ernst, Thomas M
  • Frazier, Jean A
  • Gruen, Jeffrey R
  • Kaufmann, Walter E
  • Kenet, Tal
  • Kennedy, David N
  • Libiger, Ondrej
  • Mostofsky, Stewart
  • Murray, Sarah S
  • Sowell, Elizabeth R
  • Schork, Nicholas
  • Dale, Anders M
  • Jernigan, Terry L
  • et al.


The NIH Toolbox Cognition Battery (NTCB) was designed to provide a brief, efficient computerized test of key neuropsychological functions appropriate for use in children as young as 3 years of age. This report describes the performance of a large group of typically developing children and adolescents and examines the impact of age and sociocultural variables on test performance.


The NTCB was administered to a sample of 1,020 typically developing males and females ranging in age from 3 to 20 years, diverse in terms of socioeconomic status (SES) and race/ethnicity, as part of the new publicly accessible Pediatric Imaging, Neurocognition, and Genetics (PING) data resource, at 9 sites across the United States.


General additive models of nonlinear age-functions were estimated from age-differences in test performance on the 8 NTCB subtests while controlling for family SES and genetic ancestry factors (GAFs). Age accounted for the majority of the variance across all NTCB scores, with additional significant contributions of gender on some measures, and of SES and race/ethnicity (GAFs) on all. After adjusting for age and gender, SES and GAFs explained a substantial proportion of the remaining unexplained variance in Picture Vocabulary scores.


The results highlight the sensitivity to developmental effects and efficiency of this new computerized assessment battery for neurodevelopmental research. Limitations are observed in the form of some ceiling effects in older children, some floor effects, particularly on executive function tests in the youngest participants, and evidence for variable measurement sensitivity to cultural/socioeconomic factors.

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