Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

pp 1-2

Date: Latest Version

Design Fluency Test

  • Ronald RuffAffiliated withSan Francisco Clinical Neurosciences & University of California San Francisco Email author 



Historical Background

Dr. Brenda Milner is one of the most prominent pioneers for advancing the discipline in neuropsychology. In particular, her seminal research established the neuropsychological assessment of frontal lobe functioning. In collaboration with Dr. Jones-Gotman, Dr. Milner designed the design fluency test (DFT) measure analogous to the Thurston verbal fluency test. Their seminal study (Jones-Gotman and Milner 1977) documented prefrontal lobe involvement in both verbal and design fluency. Initially, the DFT was introduced as an experimental measure, and over the years, a number of neuropsychologists have contributed toward establishing the DFT as a psychometric tool.


In the first part of the DFT, the participant is asked to “invent drawings” that are neither scribbles nor nameable objects or forms (e.g., geometrical shapes). During 5 min, as “many different” designs as possible are to be drawn on a blank piece of paper. During the second part, the part ...

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