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Token Search

Working memory is the ability to temporarily hold information in memory, and manipulate it based on changing circumstances or demands. In Token Search, patients need to maintain and update an ongoing representation of previous searches in a self-directed task.

How to take the Token Search Test

Several boxes appear on the screen. The patient must click boxes to search them, looking for a token. The process repeats when a token is found, but the box where a token was previously found cannot be searched again, requiring ongoing updates to the representation of the boxes in memory. Correctly finding a token in every box will present a new puzzle with more boxes, and performance is indicated by the average number of boxes found.

The history of Token Search

Versions of Token Search, sometimes called Spatial Search, have been used to investigate memory for over 20 years. Using a similar version of this problem, researchers have found that patients with frontal-lobe damage are impaired at this task at easy levels, while those with temporal lobe damage or amygdalo-hippocampectomy lesions were impaired only at more difficult levels. This suggests that different disorders can affect different aspects of the task.


Token Search in the real world

Token Search is a variation on “traveling salesman” problems, in which real-world salesmen must remember houses already visited and houses where sales have been made. The abilities measured by the task apply to other everyday activities in patients' lives as well, such as systematically searching for car keys that have been left somewhere by a partner.

Speak to us about using Token Search in your practice or study