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Cognitive Persistence

The motivation to overcome adversity is critical for achieving goals in life.  We recently developed a persistence metric to assess the ability to overcome adversity during a cognitive task.  This metric is based on Wisconsin Card Sorting Task (WCST) performance.  The WCST is typically used to measure whether people can learn new rules and shift their behavior. This requires working memory and problem solving skills.  It also requires persistence.  People have to overcome the adversity of finding out that they have made an error on the task and figure out how to make a correct response.  We describe this method for measuring cognitive persistence in a recent article published in the journal Neuropsychologia.  We also demonstrate that cognitive persistence predicts brain activity in frontal cortex during a challenging word recognition task. This measure could be important for understanding who is working their hardest to perform a task and perhaps predict who will benefit most from interventions.