Monday, September 26, 2011

A Banana and an Orange

The "Frontal Assessment Battery" (FAB) is supposed to be an objective measure of the functioning of the frontal lobes of one's brain. The frontal lobes deteriorate in certain types of dementia and people become disinhibited, lose mental flexibility and are less able to conceptualise material.

I did the FAB test on someone who'd supposedly had a bifrontal lobectomy (both frontal lobes removed) and they scored points, which says something about either:

1. The brain's ability to compensate
2. The surgeon's ability to remove parts of the brain, or
3. The FAB test itself

I'm not a huge fan of the test itself. Some of the questions are quite difficult, because it's not clear what you are being asked. Take for example, question 1.

"In what way are they alike?"
1. A banana and an orange
2. A table and a chair
3. A tulip, a rose and a daisy

Try answering them now.
There is only one correct answer for each.

1. The only correct answer is "they are both fruit". "They both have peel" is a partial failure and you don't get a point. "They're nothing alike, what a stupid question!" will also get you 0 points.

2. A table and a chair are both furniture. Yes, they "both have legs" and technically they are both "optional", but only "furniture" will get you the mark.

3. A tulip, a rose and a daisy might be "strange bedfellows" to an avid gardener, but unless you say that they are all flowers you will lose a mark.

Not an impossible test, but hard work for patient and examiner. I've included the link above if you feel like testing someone you know ...

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