On Friday, Donald Trump was filmed in an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace, where he was confronted over the cognitive test that he has bragged that he “aced.” After Wallace informed the president that he had taken the same test and found it easy, Trump asserted that it got harder as it went and speculated that former Vice President Joe Biden wouldn’t be able to pass it.
Now, Dr. Ziad Nasreddine, the expert who helped develop the test to screen for signs of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, told MarketWatch that it is intended to be easy.
“It is supposed to be easy for someone who has no cognitive impairment,” he said.
“This is not an IQ test or the level of how a person is extremely skilled or not. The test is supposed to help physicians detect early signs of Alzheimer’s, and it became very popular because it was a short test, and very sensitive for early impairment.”
The Montreal Cognitive Assessment test, as it is known, was developed in 1996 and usually takes about 10 minutes to complete. Each question is formulated to gauge a different part of the brain to determine if there has been any degradation in short-term memory or spatial awareness, among other things.
Trump bragged that he passed the assessment with flying colors and the doctors at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center were “very surprised” to see how well he did.
“They said, ‘That’s an unbelievable thing. Rarely does anybody do what you just did,'” the president claimed.
Critics immediately jumped on the comment, with numerous psychologists saying that they administer the test frequently and it isn’t hard at all. One psychologist said that passing it is like “bragging that you tied your own shoes.” A Twitter user said that you can’t “ace” the exam as Trump claims he did when he took it.
“You either get perfect or we take away your driver’s license,” they commented.
Nasreddine, who said that there are “traps” that people with mental impairments fall into when they take the test, noted that passing it isn’t evidence of high intelligence.
“The purpose is to detect impairment; it’s not meant to determine if someone has extremely high levels of abilities,” the doctor added.
Nasreddine also said that conducting the assessment on Trump or Biden is reasonable, given that one in four people in America experience some sort of mental decline by the age of 75.