Information about the Token Test

The Token Test (De Renzi & Vignolo 1962), is initially developed to detect mild receptive language disorders in aphasic patients. In that period, comprehension of spoken language was mostly examined in a clinical situation. The patient was requested to point to objects in the room or to carry out simple commands. According De Renzi & Vignolo, too less attention was given to the influence of redundancies, as occurring in a normal communicative interaction. F.I. the command: 'Put out your tongue' is rather expected from a physician than from a train driver.


The commands in the Token Test are independent of redundancies in a communicative situation. All commands consist of nonredundant words, referring to circles and (in the original Token Test) rectangles in different colors (original Token Test: red, green, blue, yellow and white) and sizes (large and small). The objects do not give a cue for a specific action. To perform the requested action, every content word has to be decoded.  


Measured with the Token Test, receptive language disorders were detected in aphasic patients, who did not show comprehension disorders in a normal communicative interaction. Moreover, several studies confirmed the high discriminative power of the test for brain-damaged patients with and without aphasia. More and more the Token test is used as a selective measure for the presence of aphasia and as an indicator for the severity of aphasia.


The original test consists of 61 commands. Because of the frequent use of the test in clinical practice, several short forms are developed. The screening power of the short 36-item form, developed by De Renzi & Faglioni in 1987, was the reason that the developers suggested this form as 'the standardtest for diagnostic purpose' .

The rectangles are changed in squares because of their more frequent occurrence. The color blue has been changed in black, because both patients and controls appeared to have problems with the discrimination of blue and green.


The multilingual Token Test (Roelien Bastiaanse, Djaina Satoer, Evy Visch-Brink) is available in an analogous form (Evy Visch-Brink) and in a digital form (Roelien Bastiaanse, Stephan Raaijmakers, Djaina Satoer).


De Renzi E, Vignolo LA. The Token Test: A sensitive test to detect receptive disturbances in aphasics. Brain 1962;85:665-678.


De Renzi E, Faglioni P. Normative data and screening power of a shortened version of the Token Test. Cortex 1978;14:41-49.  


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