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Is there a central executive deficit after severe head injury?
Hartman, A., Pickering, R.M. & Wilson, B.A.
Clinical Rehabilitation, 6, 133-140.
Year of publication:
This study examines whether head-injured people have a central executive deficit, and if this is correlated with performance on frontal-lobe tests. Twenty-five severely head-injured (HI) patients and 25 matched controls performed five tasks: (1) visual-motor tracking, (2) digit span, (3) visual-motor tracking with verbal encouragement from the experimenter, (4) visual-motor tracking whilst holding a conversation with the experimenter, and (5) visual-motor tracking with a simultaneous digit-span task. In addition, all subjects were assessed on three frontal-lobe tests. HI patients were significantly worse overall than controls. The most striking difference was in tracking with conversation, in which HI patients (but not controls) showed a marked decrement in performance. Scores from tests of frontal lobe functioning were significantly correlated with (1) tracking during conversation and (2) tracking with digits. The results are broadly consistent with a central executive deficit in head-injured patients.