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NIH Toolbox Cognitive Battery
Please visit this website for more information about the instrument: NIH ToolBox Website.
Information regarding iPad administration: NIH Toolbox and PROMIS iPad App
Information regarding cost: Pricing for Tools
Supplemental: Cerebral Palsy (CP), Myalgic encephalomyelitis/ Chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Exploratory: Sport-Related Concussion (SRC)
Short Description of Instrument
The battery contains 7 new, validated measures designed to assess unique domains of cognitive functioning (Episodic Memory, Reading, Vocabulary, Processing Speed, Working Memory, Executive Function, and Attention).
The battery is administered on an iPad with the assistance of an examiner (e.g., research assistant, technician). The examiner will read instructions and administer measures. The iPad will record responses and compute normative scores based on age and other demographic categories. Administration time for the cognitive domain is = 30 minutes.
The National Institutes of Health Toolbox is part of the NIH Blueprint initiative. It seeks to assemble brief, comprehensive assessment tools that will be useful in a variety of settings with an emphasis on measuring outcomes in epidemiologic studies and clinical trials over time and across the lifespan.
NIH Toolbox Overview:
The goal is to help improve communication within and between fields of biomedical research and advance knowledge by using common data elements. The battery will examine various cognitive (episodic memory, language, processing speed, working memory, executive functions, attention), emotional (negative affect, positive affect, stress and coping, social relationships), sensory (vestibular, audition, olfaction, taste, vision) and motor functions (dexterity, strength, locomotion, endurance, balance).
ME/CFS Recommended Modules:
    • Attention: Flanker Test based on Eriksen's paradigm – administration time about 4-5 min.
    • Working Memory: List Sorting Task – administration time about 7 min.
    • Processing Speed: Pattern Comparison Processing Speed Task – administration time about 90 secs.

Sport-Related Concussion Specific: Validation version contains 8 new tests designed to measure unique domains of cognitive functioning (Episodic Memory, Reading, Vocabulary, Processing Speed, Working Memory, Executive Function, and Attention). The battery is administered on a touchscreen computer with the assistance of a technician. Technician will read instructions and administer items. Touch screen computer will record responses and computer scored. Administration time for the cognitive domain = 30 minutes).
Psychometric Properties:
The battery has gone through extensive work to identify and pre-test the constructs to be measured. All measures were validated and normed on a very large, nationally representative sample.  Information on validation, norming, and measure development, as well as publications on the NIH Toolbox, are available on the NIH Toolbox Website
Other Important Notes:
The battery is designed to measure these domains in ages 3 through 85. All measures are available and normed in both English and Spanish.
NIH Toolbox Executive Summary. NIH ToolBox (accessed October 20, 2016). Principal Investigator: Richard Gershon PhD e-mail:

Adamson C, Yuan W, Babcock L, Leach JL, Seal ML, Holland SK, Wade SL. Diffusion tensor imaging detects white matter abnormalities and associated cognitive deficits in chronic adolescent TBI. Brain Inj. 2013;27(4):454-463.
Beaumont JL, Havlik R, Cook KF, Hays RD, Wallner-Allen K, Korper SP, Lai J, Nord C, Zill N, Choi S, Yost KJ, Ustsinovich V, Brouwers P, Hoffman HJ, Gershon R. Norming plans for the NIH Toolbox. Neurology. 2013;80(11 Suppl 3):S87-S92.
Gershon RC, Cella D, Fox NA, Havlik RJ, Hendrie HC, Wagster MV. Assessment of neurological and behavioural function: the NIH Toolbox. Lancet Neurol. 2010;9(2):138-139.
Quatrano LA, Cruz TH. Future of outcomes measurement: impact on research in medical rehabilitation and neurologic populations. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2011;92(10 Suppl):S7-S11.
Tulsky DS, Heinemann AW. The clinical utility and construct validity of the NIH Toolbox Cognition Battery (NIHTB-CB) in individuals with disabilities. Rehabil Psychol. 2017;62(4):409-412.
Weintraub S, Dikmen SS, Heaton RK, Tulsky DS, Zelazo PD, Slotkin J, Carlozzi NE, Bauer PJ, Wallner-Allen K, Fox N, Havlik R, Beaumont JL, Mungas D, Manly JJ, Moy C, Conway K, Edwards E, Nowinski CJ, Gershon R. The cognition battery of the NIH toolbox for assessment of neurological and behavioral function: validation in an adult sample. J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2014;20(6):567-578.
Zelazo PD, Anderson JE, Richler J, Wallner-Allen K, Beaumont JL, Weintraub S. NIH Toolbox Cognition Battery (CB): Measuring Executive Function and Attention. Chapter II. Monogr Soc Res Child Dev. 2013;78(4):16-33
Togo F, Lange G, Natelson BH, Quigley KS. Attention network test: assessment of cognitive function in chronic fatigue syndrome. J Neuropsychol. 2015;9(1):1-9.


Document last updated March 2018
Recommended Instrument for
Recommended Instrument for: CP, ME/CFS, SRC and TBI