Validating a systematic computer -administered visual analogue response latency in a clinical sample

Oren I Meyers, Fordham University


The present study investigated the clinical utility of a method for assessing patients on psychological traits, which maximizes the response choices for participants while maintaining the quantitativeness of an objective measure. The method used was a visual analogue scale administered via computer, wherein participants responded true or false to pre-selected locations on the continuum, which for this trial, measured illness-related functional impairment. As hypothesized, the summary scores of the visual analogue demonstrated concurrent validity with a gold standard measurement of the same trait. Each location on the continuum was surveyed ten times. As hypothesized, participants' response profiles typified a quadratic trend such that, at the extremes of response consistency, all true or all false, responses were fastest. As responses per location approached an even split between true and false responses, response latencies became longer. In keeping with the nature of trait assessment, as conceived in a visual analogue scale, all of the participants produced response patterns containing an identifiable string of locations with aggregate scores of true (Consistently true area; CTA). Most of the patterns contained a similar set of contiguous locations with aggregate scores of false (Consistently false area; CFA). However, contrary to expectations, only a minority had transitional areas (TA) with an inconsistent mix of true and false locations. Therefore, instead of the expected quartic trend in the response latency patterns, what was found was that at the border between CTAs and CFAs, there was a tendency toward a significant elevation in response latency. Finally, as hypothesized, participants responded in an increasingly rapid fashion over the course of testing, and their responses became increasingly polarized as either all true or all false in particular locations. The clinic patients who participated in this study were able to self-administer the measure as intended, and in so doing, demonstrated the incremental validity lent by collection of response latencies. It remains for future studies to determine ways to streamline the assessment procedure in order to make it more clinically efficacious.

Subject Area

Psychotherapy|Psychological tests|Mental health

Recommended Citation

Meyers, Oren I, "Validating a systematic computer -administered visual analogue response latency in a clinical sample" (2004). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3116865.