Boston Naming Test Questions

 If they say “I don’t know” do we give them the stimulus cue, if they still don’t know, we give them the phonetic cue?

The stimulus cue is not a hint. It is only given when there is a misperception (the only exception is if they say “dice” for dominoes – in that case, you DO give the stimulus cue). If the participant says they do not know after the picture is presented, then the phonemic cue is given. If the participant still says “I don’t know”, ask for her to take her best guess. If she refuses to guess, move onto the next item after 20 seconds. Please follow the flowchart in the manual for specific instructions on how to give cues.


At the end of the Boston Naming battery, are we allowed to tell them the words that they didn’t know? Every time I test someone and they miss a word they ask what the word was at the end of all our testing. I have been withholding that information from them, but am I allowed to tell them the word?

You are correct to not tell them. This could spoil the next time you test or they are tested by someone else.


What cues do we give if they have the first syllable of the word but not the rest? For example, a patient says “trestle” but the phonemic cue would be “tre-” and this would not help them in this instance. How should we go about addressing this type of problem?

It is fine that they gave a word with the phonemic cue, it is not a problem. They still cannot freely generate the word and you should give the phonemic due. To address that you are clearly telling them the same stem, you could say something like “It’s not trestle, but it starts tre-”



September 12, 2015
Primary teaching affiliate
of BU School of Medicine