The Behavioral Assessment and Research System (BARS) is a testing system consisting of standard and new neurobehavioral performance tests. BARS was designed for population-based research to detect adverse nervous system effects in a work group exposed to a chemical when compared to a control group that did not have such an exposure. To this day, it is one of the two most widely-used testing systems to detect neurotoxicity in adults, and it has now been extended to research with children.
The primary benefits of BARS:
- Includes tests of attention, memory, learning motivation, complex function, response speed and coordination. See BARS Tests.
- Available in English, Spanish, Thai, and Arabic languages. Can be extended to other languages at a modest cost.
- Developed with simple, clear instructions (spoken optional) and practice that fully replace Examiner explanations on how to perform the tests for most adults with 10 or more years of education
- BARS can be used with populations with limited or even no education or fluency by using the spoken language option
- Up to 10 people can be tested simultaneously by one Examiner (less if education below 10 years)
- Ages successfully tested: 4-91
- BARS tests have modifiable parameters (eg, number of trials, stimulus shape, inter-stimulus intervals, instruction language, practice trials, test difficulty levels, delays)
- Poker chip dispenser available as feedback/reinforcer for children
Since 1990, BARS software and the hardware to run it has been licensed by Drs. Kent Anger and Diane Rohlman at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in Portland, OR. In June 2007, NwETA became the exclusive licensee to market BARS. NwETA negotiated that agreement in order to provide a secure long-term financial base for BARS.
BARS 4.0pc is run on computers with Windows XP operating systems. All tests are now operational and ready for use in BARS 4.0pc. BARS has been tested on Windows Vista and 7; the 9BUTTON driver has not yet been programmed.