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Mexican youth's performance in the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB)

Full Title: Assessment of neuropsychological performance in Mexico City youth using the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB)

Green R, Till C, Al-Hakeem H, Cribbie R, Tellez-Rojo MM, Osorio E, Hu H, Schnass L

Journal of Experimental and Clinical Neuropsychology



The Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB) is a computerized tool used to measure cognitive function in diverse populations and is sensitive for assessing developmental changes in children. Although CANTAB has been used in several countries, its applicability in a Mexican child population is unknown. This study examined developmental trends on CANTAB in a large sample of urban Mexico City youth and tested the hypothesis that their performance would be similar to a large US normative sample.


As part of a birth cohort, Early Life Exposures in Mexico to Environmental Toxicants, 826 children, ages 5–15 years, completed CANTAB. Subtests measured planning (Stockings of Cambridge; SOC), short-term memory (Delayed Matching to Sample; DMS), sustained attention (Rapid Visual Information Processing; RVP), ability to match visual stimuli (Match to Sample Visual Search; MTS), flexibility (Intra-extra Dimensional Set Shift; IED), and response inhibition (Stop Signal Task; SST). Determinants of performance on the CANTAB, including age, maternal/child IQ, and sex, were analyzed using Spearman correlation and Welch t tests. Equivalence testing compared performance with existing norms.


Performance improved with age on all measures. Child IQ was mildly associated with measures of memory and attention but not executive functioning, consistent with US norms. Maternal IQ was not associated with any outcomes, and males performed better on IED. Mexican norms were comparable to US norms on almost all outcomes, with the exception of a short-term visual recognition memory task (DMS).


This study provides the largest normative data for CANTAB performance in a community sample of Mexican youth. Findings demonstrate the expected maturational effects of executive function, specifically in cognitive shifting and inhibition. Levels of executive function performance demonstrated by a Mexican sample were consistent with normative values reported in US youth. These findings, as well as expected associations with child IQ, indicate high applicability of CANTAB for Mexican youth in neurobehavioral studies.