Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society

Special Series

NIH EXAMINER: Conceptualization and Development of an Executive Function Battery

Joel H. Kramera1 c1, Dan Mungasa2, Katherine L. Possina1, Katherine P. Rankina1, Adam L. Boxera1, Howard J. Rosena1, Alan Bostroma1, Lena Sinhaa1, Ashley Berhela1 and Mary Widmeyera3

a1 Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco, California

a2 Department of Neurology, University of California, Davis, California

a3 Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, Chicago, Illinois


Executive functioning is widely targeted when human cognition is assessed, but there is little consensus on how it should be operationalized and measured. Recognizing the difficulties associated with establishing standard operational definitions of executive functioning, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke entered into a contract with the University of California-San Francisco to develop psychometrically robust executive measurement tools that would be accepted by the neurology clinical trials and clinical research communities. This effort, entitled Executive Abilities: Measures and Instruments for Neurobehavioral Evaluation and Research (EXAMINER), resulted in a series of tasks targeting working memory, inhibition, set shifting, fluency, insight, planning, social cognition and behavior. We describe battery conceptualization and development, data collection, scale construction based on item response theory, and lay the foundation for studying the battery's utility and validity for specific assessment and research goals. (JINS, 2013, 19, 1–9)

(Received March 18 2013)

(Revised August 23 2013)

(Accepted August 30 2013)

(Online publication October 08 2013)


  • working memory;
  • cognitive control;
  • fluency;
  • planning;
  • social cognition;
  • item response theory


c1 Correspondence and reprint requests to: Joel H. Kramer, 675 Nelson Rising Lane, Suite 190, MC 1207, San Francisco, CA 94158. E-mail: