Elementary cognitive task

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An elementary cognitive task (ECT) is any of a range of basic tasks which require only a small number of mental processes and which have easily specified correct outcomes.[1] Although ECTs may be cognitively simple there is evidence that performance on such tasks correlates well with other measures of general intelligence such as Raven's Progressive Matrices.[2] For example, correcting for attenuation, the correlation between IQ test scores and ECT performance is about 0.5.[3]

The term was proposed by John Bissell Carroll in 1980, who posited that all test performance could be analyzed and broken down to building blocks called ECTs. Test batteries such as Microtox were developed based on this theory and have shown utility in the evaluation of test subjects under the influence of carbon monoxide or alcohol.[4]



  1. ^ Human Cognitive Abilities: A Survey of Factor-Analytic Studies By John Bissell Carroll 1993 Cambridge University Press ISBN 0-521-38712-4 p11
  2. ^ Arthur R. Jensen Process differences and individual differences in some cognitive tasks Intelligence, Volume 11, Issue 2, April–June 1987, Pages 107-136
  3. ^ J. Grudnik and J. Kranzler, Meta-analysis of the relationship between intelligence and inspection time, Intelligence 29 (2001), pp. 523–535.
  4. ^ Roger W. Russell, ed. (1990). Behavioral Measures of Neurotoxicity: Report of a Symposium. Pamela Ebert Flattau, Andrew MacPherson Pope. National Academies Press. ISBN 0-309-04047-7.