Embedded Figures Test

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Embedded Figures Test (EFT)

Basic Characteristics

  • Description

In the embedded Figures Test, the research participant is shown a complex background figure and asked to describe it. After this, the participant is shown a target (such as the outline of a triangle) and asked to locate the target amid the background figure. The reaction time is the main indicator of the task. In the adult version, the target and background can vary. AF

  • EFT and ASD

Patients with ASD have consistently shown better performance on the Embeded Figures Test. Their superior performance on tests like the EFT have led to the development of the Theory of Weak Coherence. Those who score higher on the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) also tend to have faster reaction times than low scorers on the AQ. 1


Although the Embedded Figures Task is assumed to measure one's ability to process stimuli locally rather than globally, it is not obvious what particular aspect of the task ASD patients excel at. It is not known how visual performance depends on the task elements used in the EFT (such as whether the background shares lines with the target). 1

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  • References

1. Almeida, R. et. al. A new step towards understanding Embedded Figures Test performance in the autism spectrum: The radial frequency search task.Neuropsychologia. 2009 Sep 26. PMID 19786040

Related Information

  • Cognitive construct associated with this task (vote for your favorite, or nominate a new construct label by editing this page):
  • Indicators (dependent variables, conditions, or contrasts; measurement variables used for analysis) associated with this task (vote or nominate by editing this page):

1) reaction time

    • dependent variables:
  • Closely related pages (vote or nominate related pages by editing this page):
    • Within Species
    • Across Species
  • CNP Level
  • Primary Species

External Resources

  • Database links

Task Details

  • Task Structure (please given an overview of the task procedures here [i.e., overall design, block, trial, and within-trial event structure and timing])
    • procedure
      • block:
      • trial:
  • Stimulus Characteristics
    • sensory modality (e.g., visual, auditory, somatosensory, gustatory, olfactory): visual and auditory
    • functional modality (e.g., linguistic, spatial, numerical, categorical):
    • presentation modality (e.g., human examiner, paper, computer display, headphones, speaker): computer display with speakers
  • Response Characteristics
    • response required -
      • effector modality (e.g., vocal, manual, pedal): manual
      • functional modality (e.g., words, drawing, writing, keypress, movement):
    • response options (e.g., yes/no, go/no-go, forced choice, multiple choice [specify n of options], free response)-
    • response collection (e.g., examiner notes, keyboard, keypad, mouse, voice key, button press)-
  • Assessment/Control Characteristics
    • timing
      • monthly cycle dependent??
      • circadian dependent??
    • control assessment
      • 5 senses??