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The Pyramids and Palm Trees Test
Transcript of The Pyramids and Palm Trees Test
Original 60-item test with 2 versions administered to normal adult controls
Items < 90% success eliminated
Final version of test included 52 items
Non-head injured young adults
Callahan, B. L., Macoir, J., Hudon, C., Bier, N., Chouinard, N.,
Cossette-Harvey, M., Daigle, N., Fradette, C., Gagnon, L., Potvin, O. (2010). Normative data for the Pyramids and Palm Trees Test in the Quebec-French population. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 25, 212-217.
Davis, A. (1988). Semantic deficits and their relationship to naming
disorders in head injured subjects. Unpublished M.Sc. Thesis, City University.
Gamboz, N., Coluccia, E., Iavarone, A., & Brandimonte, M. A.
(2009). Normative data for the Pyramids and Palm Trees Test in the elderly Italian population. Neurological Sciences, 30, 453-458.
Howard, D., & Patterson, K. (1992). Pyramids and Palm Trees: A
test of semantic access from pictures and words. Bury St. Edmunds, UK: Thames Valley Test Company.
Klein, L. A., & Buchanan, J. A. (2009). Psychometric properties of
the Pyramids and Palm Trees Test. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 31(7), 803-808.
Rami, L., Serradell, M., Bosch, B., Caprille, C., Sekler, A., Villar, A.,
Canal, R., & Molinuevo, J. L. (2008). Normative data for the Boston Naming Test and the Pyramids and Palm Trees Test in the elderly Spanish population. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 30(1), 1-6.
To assess semantics in patients with
Pattern of Performance
In use with clinical populations, the pattern of performance is what's important.
< 90% includes clinically sig. impairment re: semantic reasoning
Extensive use with clinical populations, including aphasia, dementia, and agnosia
No norms provided
Absolute score in relation to clinical groups seen as unimportant
Klein & Buchanan (2009)
Significant (r = .47, p < .01), but poor
Lacking (α = .25)
No significant relationship with similar measures (r(78) = .15, p = .20)
Strong (r(63) = .17, p = .18.)
Performance heavily moderated by factors such as age and education level
To be successful a subject will need to be able to:
recognize the three test items (the given item, the target, and the distractor)
retrieve conceptual/semantic information from the items
perform the association between the target and the given item by focusing on the particular semantic properties and ignoring semantic information that are similar between the target and the distractor
2) Written Word Only
1) Pictures Only
3) Combined Picture & Word
Conceptual Semantics Vs. Lexical Semantics
Evaluations of conceptual semantics require patients to associate only pictures, they do not rely on language production or comprehension.
Tests of lexical semantics rely on the patients ability to associate spoken words either to other words or pictures. There is a heavy reliance on comprehension and lexical processing.
The Pyramids and Palm Trees test can evaluate patients on both a conceptual semantics level as well as a lexical-semantic level.
The Pyramids and Palm Trees test does not evaluate function! It is designed to determine if there is an impairment at the cognitive level of semantic processing.
Examples of Correct Answers
Examples of Distractors
Each triad consists of a test item, the correct answer (the target) and an incorrect answer (the distractor).
For each triad, the correct and incorrect answer are listed on the scoring sheet. Correct answers are indicated in
and are worth one point each.
Scores above 90% (or at least 47 of the 52 test triads) indicates normal function of cognitive semantics, while in contrast, scores below 90% indicate impaired function of cognitive semantics.
Can be used to assess semantics separately from other language abilities
Duplicate pages to allow for vocabulary differences of North-American English users
A variety of different types of associations are involved across the 52 test triads
6 different versions of the test can be administered, with the option of a 7th version using 3 spoken words.
The various versions of the test can be used to build up a picture of an agnosic or aphasic client's ability to access conceptual and semantic information from words and pictures.
Subject to practice effects.
Performance is culturally biased, ageist, and influenced by education level
Questionable reliability, poor convergent validity, and not a lot of psychometric studies have been conducted
Clients will only be able to perform with consistent accuracy if they can retrieve complete and correct semantic information from the three items in each of the triads, which are heavily biased
A particular pattern of performance cannot pinpoint the specific origins of the difficulties. Further testing will be necessary.
Does not permit conclusions to be drawn about comprehension of abstract words and concepts.
If the client cannot score better than chance in any test version, no firm conclusions will be possible.
We would recommend the Pyramids and the Palm Trees Test as a test within a more comprehensive battery. While it does provide valuable information regarding a client's pattern of performance, it is not sufficient as a stand-alone test to provide in-depth information regarding semantics.