Halstead Category Test (Cat)

The Halstead Category Test (HCT) was developed by psychologist Ward C. Halstead in the early 1940s to assess organic brain damage or dysfunction. Although understood nowadays more broadly as a measure of concept formation and the ability to employ a flexible problem-solving strategy in response to feedback, it has stood the test of time and remains among the most sensitive overall measures of cognitive dysfunction.

When first introduced, the HCT required a large and rather cumbersome device that employed a manually-operated slide projector. The late 1970s and early 1980s saw the introduction of booklet, paper-and-pencil, and card versions that—while both portable and more convenient—still required considerable clerical work.

In 1987 I published the first Computer Category Test (Cat) for IBM-compatible computers, which not only displayed the HCT test figures on-screen, but also handled the tedious recording and scoring of test responses. Research over the years has established that the HCT yields essentially comparable results irrespective of method of administration.

Although my own Cat program has been retired on account of compatibility issues with recent versions of MS Windows, my long-time colleague Dr. Jeffrey Kunka has published a newer cross-platform (Win/Mac) version—dubbed NewCat—that has been optimized to run on the latest computers and high-resolution screens.

A preview version of NewCat can be downloaded from his website, and an affordable license that unlocks the full test is available for purchase by qualified clinicians and grad/post-grad trainees under supervision: https://newcat.newpsyc.com