Construct Validity of the NIH Toolbox Cognitive Domains: A Comparison With Conventional Neuropsychological Assessments

Lauren R. Ott, Mikki Schantell, Madelyn P. Willett, Hallie J. Johnson, Jacob A. Eastman, Hannah J. Okelberry, Tony W. Wilson, Brittany K. Taylor, Pamela E. May

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective: Previous studies have assessed the construct validity of individual subtests in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Toolbox Cognition Battery (NIHTB-CB), though none have examined the construct validity of the cognitive domains. Importantly, the original NIHTB-CB validation studies were administered on a desktop computer, though the NIHTB-CB is now solely administered via an iPad. We examined the construct validity of each cognitive domain assessed in the NIHTB-CB, including a motor dexterity domain using the iPad application compared to a neuropsychological battery in a sample of healthy adults. Method: Eighty-three adults aged 20–66 years (M= 44.35 ± 13.41 years) completed the NIHTB-CB and a comprehensive neuropsychological assessment. Domain scores for each of six cognitive domains (attention and executive function, episodic memory, working memory, processing speed, language, and motor dexterity) and the fluid composite were computed for both batteries. We then assessed the construct validity using Pearson correlations and intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) for both demographically corrected and uncorrected domains. Results: We found the attention and executive function, episodic memory, and processing speed domains had poor-to-adequate construct validity (ICCConsistency = −0.029 to 0.517), the working memory and motor dexterity domains and the fluid composite had poor-to-good construct validity (ICCConsistency = 0.215–0.801), and the language domain had adequate-to-good construct validity (ICCConsistency = 0.408–0.829). Conclusion: The NIHTB-CB cognitive domains have poor-to-good construct validity, thus researchers should be aware that some tests representing cognitive constructs may not fully reflect the cognitive domain of interest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)468-481
Number of pages14
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2022


  • Cognitive domains
  • Construct validity
  • Ipad
  • Neuropsychological assessment
  • Nih toolbox cognition battery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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