Continuous Performance Test

The Continuous Performance Test (CPT) is an instrument that assesses sustained attention. It is used in both clinical evaluations and psychological research. This entry discusses its origin and research using CPT and then presents a hypothesis to explain the clinical and research findings.


As was the case with a number of significant neuropsychological instruments, the CPT was derived from the experience of an observant clinician evaluating service members who experienced brain injuries in wartime. Experience as a psychologist in World War II thus led to Haldor E. Rosvold’s observations of “microsleeps” (brief periods of inattentiveness) in Canadian soldiers who had brain injuries, and ultimately to the development of an instrument that assesses sustained attention. In contrast to the other commonly used measures of attention at ...

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