Objectives. Because constructional ability is a crucial perceptual-motor skill that relates to daily functioning, it should be accurately assessed in clients with neurological dysfunction. This study examined three versions of the Puzzle Reproduction task (a constructional ability task) of the Loewenstein Occupational Therapy Cognitive Assessment (LOTCA) in order to determine whether a reduced detail version of the task would be easier (i.e., require less time to complete) than the original version and whether a subplacement version would be more difficult to perform (i.e., require more time to complete) than the original version. In addition, the study examined whether older adult subjects would perform more slowly than younger adult subjects.
Method. Seventy-two right-handed adults with no disabilities were divided into two age groups: 18 to 30 years old (n = 36) and 58 to 70 years old (n = 36). Each subject was tested on one of three versions of the LOTCA Puzzle Reproduction task (i.e., original, subplacement, simplified).
Results. For the older subjects, the simplified version of the task required significantly less time than the original version, although there was not a significant time difference between the original and subplacement versions. For the younger subjects, the subplacement version required significantly more time than the original version, but there was no significant time difference between the original and simplified versions. Results also indicated that older subjects took significantly longer to perform all three versions of the task than did the younger subjects.
Conclusion. The findings support the use of the simplified version of the LOTCA Puzzle Reproduction task with older adults or with persons with major cognitive perceptual difficulties. Further studies of the level of difficulty of the subplacement version are needed to examine whether this version is more sensitive to constructional deficits in a sample of persons with neurological impairments because even mild constructional deficits have been shown to relate to disabilities in daily functioning.