Supplementary Material for: Why Almost Always Animals? Ranking Fluency Tasks for the Detection of Dementia Based on Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) and Quality ROC Analyses
Background/Aims: Category fluency tasks have been widely used to assess cognitive functioning in both clinical and experimental environments as an index of cognitive and psycholinguistic dysfunctions in dementia. Typically, a reduced group of semantic categories has been selected for neuropsychological assessment (e.g., animals, fruits or vegetables), although empirical support for the prevalence of one category among others is absent in the literature. Methods: We provide an empirical evaluation of the ability of 14 category fluency tasks to discriminate between subjects with dementia of the Alzheimer type and healthy elderly participants. As a novelty, we used both receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves and quality ROC calibrated analyses to characterize the interplay of sensitivity and specificity of every category fluency task performance as a screening tool. The use of calibrated measures provided us with a useful tool for comparing the diagnostic ability of the different categories, as well as making rankings of categories based on the quality indices of efficiency, sensitivity, and specificity. Results: The habitually used category of animals is far from being the most efficient one in terms of its diagnostic power to evaluate dementia. Conclusion: Our study might guide the selection of suitable category fluency tasks according to the diagnostic purposes in dementia.