• Variation and interactional non-standardization in neuropsychological tests: The case of the Addenbrooke’s Cognitive Examination

      Jones, Danielle K.; Wilkinson, R.; Jackson, C.; Drew, P. (2020-02)
      The Addenbrooke’s Cognitive Examination (ACE-111) is a neuropsychological test used in clinical practice to inform a dementia diagnosis. The ACE-111 relies on standardized administration so that patients’ scores can be interpreted by comparison with normative scores. The test is delivered and responded to in interaction between clinicians and patients, which places talk-in-interaction at the heart of its administration. In this article, conversation analysis (CA) is used to investigate how the ACE-111 is delivered in clinical practice. Based on analysis of 40 video/audio-recorded memory clinic consultations in which the ACE-111 was used, we have found that administrative standardization is rarely achieved in practice. There was evidence of both (a) interactional variation in the way the clinicians introduce the test and (b) interactional non-standardization during its implementation. We show that variation and interactional non-standardization have implications for patients’ understanding and how they might respond to particular questions.