Document Type



Medicine and Health Sciences | Psychiatry and Psychology


The Controlled Oral Word Association (COWA) Test is a brief and sensitive measure of executive cognitive dysfunction. There are two commonly used forms of the test, one using the letters F, A, and S, and the other using C, F, and L. This study examines the relative difficulty of the two forms using a meta-analytic approach that includes multiple samples of normal individuals. The effects of age, education, gender composition, exclusion criteria, and age of study are also examined. Results indicate that the CFL form of the test is more difficult and that age, education, and the use of strict exclusion criteria influence performance. Performance is more variable for the FAS form, and age and age of study influence performance variability.


Author manuscript; available in PMC 2011 May 3.

PMCID: PMC3085831

Published in final edited form as: Appl Neuropsychol. 2008; 15(2): 97–106. doi: 10.1080/09084280802083863.