The development and examination of a new walking executive function test for people over 50 years of age

Arturo Leyva, Anoop Balachandran, Jennifer C. Britton, Moataz Eltoukhy, Christopher Kuenze, Nicholas Myers, Joseph F. Signorile

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


A reduction in executive function (EF) performance is a major factor associated with the loss of functional independence among older adults. Computer-based tests are commonly used to evaluate EF; however, these mouse or keyboard tests are upper limb dominant while most activities of daily living (ADL, e.g. crossing a street) are lower limb dominant. The purpose of this study was to examine the utility of a newly developed walking EF test called the Walking Response and Inhibition Test (WRIT). The WRIT was validated by comparing its results a number of established computer-based tests and to an ADL-related test known to require EF, the Timed “Up & Go” Test (TUG). Fifty healthy adults, ranging in age from 50 to 86 years (mean ± SD, 65.5 ± 9.6 y) were evaluated using the WRIT, three computer-based EF tests, the TUG, a verbal memory test and an agility test. All computer-based EF tests were positively correlated to the WRIT (p < 0.05); however, regression analyses revealed that the WRIT explained 37.5% of the variance in the TUG, while a composite of traditional computer-based tests explained 10.5%. As indicated by Lin's Concordance reliability (pc = 0.82) between testing days was high and was supported by a Cronbach's alpha of 0.90. Bland–Altman analyses also demonstrated good agreement between the testing days with a small mean difference 3.48 (− 3.71, 10.67). These results support the validity and reliability of the WRIT, and indicate that when assessing EF as it relates to functionality, the WRIT test may be a more appropriate measure than existing computer-based mouse and keyboard tests.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-109
Number of pages10
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
StatePublished - Mar 15 2017


  • Elderly
  • Performance testing
  • Testing specificity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Philosophy
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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