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WAF Perception and Attention Functions

W. Sturm
Neuro
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Application

Assesses aspects of attention.
The WAF test battery consists of six tests (Alertness, Selective attention, Focused attention, Divided attention, Vigilance/sustained attention, Spatial attention/Field of Vision/Extinction/Neglect) that can be administered independently of each other or in any desired combination as a test battery. In addition, WAFW can be used to make a differential assessment of sensory impairments. For each of the WAF tests different test forms are available, enabling dimensions of attention to be assessed under different presentation modalities. There are thus separate sub-tests for visual, auditory or cross-modal presentation. In some subtests of the WAF test battery automated and controlled aspects of attention are measured separately; the stimuli either become more prominent because the intensity level is increased ("popping out"), or they become less prominent because their intensity is decreased and cognitively controlled "top down" processes are then required. Both attention processes are relevant in everyday life; both can interact and both can be selectively impaired, for example as a result of brain damage, since they are based on different cerebral networks. Attention functions are important for the successful handling of the tasks that the individual encounters in daily life. They are not independent of other skills but are a constituent of many processes of perception, memory, planning and acting, spatial orientation and problem-solving. Attention functions are thus basic skills that are required in almost every practical or intellectual activity. Many neurological and psychological disorders and diseases have an adverse effect on different aspects of attention. The WAF tests are therefore used mainly in the context of clinical neuropsychological investigations, because they provide both a global and a differentiated assessment of an individual’s strengths and weaknesses. They are also used in recruitment (especially in the field of manufacturing & safety assessments) and in the field of sports psychology.

Administration

WAFW: Pre-test for perception functions
Depending on test form, the respondent reacts to simple intensity changes in different stimulus modalities.

WAFA: Alertness
The respondent reacts as soon as a circle appears. Cues are given in the same stimulus modality or a different one.

WAFV: Vigilance / sustained attention
The respondent reacts as soon as he/she notices an intensity change in a black square on the screen or in a tone.

WAFR: Spatial attention and visual field / extinction - neglect
Forms S1-S4 involve either 4 or 8 triangles that point outwards. The respondent reacts as soon as one of them becomes darker. Cues are given, but they do not always indicate a forthcoming intensity change.
S5 is used to test for neglect. The respondent must react differently depending on whether white dots appear in the left-hand or the right-hand half of a black screen.

WAFF: Focused attention
Depending on the subtest, the respondent is required to focus simultaneously on two different geometric figures, on a sound in a babble of voices or on one visual and one auditory stimulus. At certain intervals the stimuli change their position and intensity. The respondent reacts as soon as the defined stimulus becomes either lighter or softer twice in succession.

WAFS: Selective attention
The respondent receives various geometric and/or auditory stimuli. He/She reacts to intensity changes in predefined relevant conditions.

WAFG: Divided attention
Depending on the subtest, the respondent is required to focus simultaneously on two different geometric figures or on one figure and one auditory stimulus. At certain intervals the stimuli change their intensity. The respondent reacts as soon as one of the two stimuli becomes either lighter or softer twice in succession.

Test forms

For each of the WAF tests different test forms are available, enabling dimensions of attention to be assessed in different presentation modalities (visual, auditory and cross-modal).

WAFW
5 test forms – one each for distinguishing brightness, distinguishing shape, distinguishing tonepitch, distinguishing volume and auditory differentiation.

WAFA
2 test forms (standard form and short form), each with 6 subtests
Subtests: intrinsic (visual), phasic (unimodal visual), phasic (cross-modal visual), intrinsic (auditory), phasic (unimodal auditory), phasic (cross-modal auditory)

WAFV
8 test forms (4 long forms and 4 short forms)
Separate forms for vigilance (visual), vigilance (auditory), sustained attention (visual), sustained attention (auditory). The short forms for sustained attention have been developed especially for children and young people.

WAFR
5 test forms – one each with either four or eight stimulus positions and peripheral or central cues. An additional test checks visual field / neglect under extinction conditions.

WAFF
1 test form with 3 subtests.
Subtests: unimodal (visual), unimodal (auditory), cross-modal

WAFS
1 test form with 3 subtests.
Subtests: unimodal (visual), unimodal (auditory), cross-modal

WAFG
2 test forms (standard form and short form), each with 2 subtests.
Subtests: unimodal (visual), crossmodal

Scoring

The following main variables are scored, depending on the test form:

  • Mean reaction time: Measure of processing speed in attention tasks.
  • Dispersion of reaction time: Measure of the variability of attention.
  • Number omitted (only in WAFV): Measure of the maintenance of vigilance or sustained attention.

Scoring elements

Table
Profile
Working time
Confidence interval
Profile analysis
Test protocol
Item analysis protocol
Progress chart
Special diagrammatic representation of results
Personalized Word report

Test type

Special Ability Tests

Test information

adaptive
modular
language-free item material
parallel test form
conforms to the Rasch-model
additional device required
high level of test security
wide norm spectrum
test form available for online presentation - open mode
links to CogniPlus
supervisor-supported testing

Languages

Czech
Dutch
English
French
German
Hungarian
Italian
Russian
Slovak
Spanish
Turkish

More languages available on demand.

Duration

WAFW: approx. 2 minutes per subtest
WAFA: approx. 14-27 minutes, depending on test form
WAFV: approx. 15-30 minutes, depending on test form
WAFR: approx. 5 minutes per test form
WAFF: approx. 10 minutes per subtest
WAFS: approx. 8 minutes per subtest
WAFG: approx. 12-30 minutes, depending on test form
 

Age

Norms for ages 7+.

Special features

A standard USB headset is required for administration of the auditory and crossmodal subtests.

Videos