Tower of London

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A screenshot of PEBL's Tower of London task.


[edit] About

From wikipedia, The Tower of London test is a well known test used in applied clinical neuropsychology for the assessment of executive functioning. The test was introduced by Tim Shallice in 1982[1] in a study looking at impairments from injury in different brain regions. It is related to the classic problem-solving puzzle known as the Tower of Hanoi.

[edit] Notes

PEBL's Tower of London has nine different options that can be selected at startup. An experimenter can select one of them by default by editing the PEBL script, or use the built-in facilities to develop an individual random set. The default problem sets use different problems, different pole heights, and different numbers of disks, and include:

  • [1] Unconstrained pile heights, {3,4,5} disks, progressive difficulty, 30 trials
  • [2] Unconstrained pile heights, {3,4,5} disks, Random presentation, 30 trials
  • [3] Shallice test ([1,2,3] pile heights, 3 disks, Shallice's 12 problems.
  • [4] Shallice pile heights [1,2,3], 3 disks, 30 random trials.
  • [5] Phillips (1999) trials A (unconstrained piles, 5 disks, progressive difficulty, 8 trials)
  • [6] Phillips (1999) trials B (unconstrained piles, 5 disks, progressive difficulty, 8 trials)
  • [7] Phillips (1999) trials C (unconstrained piles, 5 disks, progressive difficulty, 8 trials)
  • [8] Fimbel et al (2009) old: [1,2,3] pile heights, 3 disks, progressive difficulty, 15 trials)
  • [9] Fimbel et al (2009) young: [1,2,3] pile heights, 3 disks, progressive difficulty, 35 trials)
  • [0] TOL-R (Schnirman et al, 1998). [1,2,3] pile heights, 3 disks, 30 problems, time and move limit)
  • [a] TOL-DX (Culbertson & Zillmer, 1998). [1,2,3] pile heights, 3 discs, 15 problems)

[edit] Options

If you don't want the hand shown, change the following from 1 to 0:

 gShowHand     <- 1  #Show the hand graphic?

[edit] Data Output

There are two output files, named according to the subject number: tol-X.txt and tol-summary-x.txt

tol-x.txt contains move-by-move records: Example:

  • sub indicates the subject code
  • trial indicates which trial in the test
  • size is the number of disks in the problem
  • current is the current configuration. Columns indicate the location of disks. Each pile is separated by a | character.
  • end is the goal configuration
  • step is the move within a trial
  • reset is whether resetting was used in the trial
  • tries indicates which reset round (if multiple tries is allowed)
  • score is a running total score, which is just one point per number of disks in correctly solved problems
  • abstime is the absolute timer recording when the move was recorded
  • Trialtime indicates the time from the start of the trial
  • clicktime indicates the time since the previous move
  • Done is 1/0 indicating that the problem was completed

tol-summary-x.txt contains just trail-by-trial summaries:


Here, one line is recorded per trial.

  • sub indicates the subject code
  • trial indicates which trial in the test
  • size is the number of disks in the problem
  • shortest is the least number of moves needed to solve the problem (may not be available in all tests)
  • startlab is a node within an internal matrix indicating the starting configuration
  • endlab is a nod within an internal matrix indicating ending configuration.
  • startconf is the configuration of disks at the beginning
  • endconf is the configuration at the end.
  • success is whether the participant completed the task (may be 0 when a time or move limit is used)
  • tries is how many attempts were made (how many times it was reset, not used in all versions)
  • score is a running total score, which is just one point per number of disks in correctly solved problems
  • steps is the number of moves used to solve the problem
  • roundstart is the absolute timer time when the problem was given (in ms)
  • starttime is a second measure of this that resets if multiple attempts are given
  • firstime is the first move time in ms
  • time is the total time for the problem in ms, including first move time.

The last four columns gives different times. Of these, the first two give the absolute start times the trial began (since the start of the experiment); they should be fairly similar, but are recorded at different times during the trial. They will only differ if you allow 'restarts' if the participant does not complete the problem in a minimum number of moves. The next (firsttime) gives the first move time in ms, and the last gives the total problem time in ms, including the first movement time. So you probably can use just the last number in each column, although you may have a reason to subtract out the first move time, or only consider the first move time, but you shouldn't add them together because the second already contains the first.

[edit] References

Shallice T. (1982), Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, B, 298, 199-209.

Fimbel, E., Lauzon, S., & Rainville, C. (2009). Performance of Humans vs. Exploration Algorithms on the Tower of London Test. (J. Bongard, Ed.)PLoS ONE, 4(9), e7263. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0007263

Phillips, L. H., Wynn, V., Gilhooly, K. J., Della Sala, S., & Logie, R. H. (1999). The role of memory in the Tower of London task. Memory, 7(2), 209-231.

[edit] See Also

PEBL Test Battery

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