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Quantifying the extent of cognitive dysfunction in patients with intracranial tumors is important to monitor treatment effects and assess patients' needs. Inspection time, a measure of the efficiency of visual information processing, was evaluated, and its usefulness in patients with intracranial tumors was compared with that of other widely used cognitive tests. Newly presenting inpatients with supratentorial intracranial tumors (n = 118) underwent preoperative assessment using inspection time and a number of other measures of cognitive function, mood, and functional status. The brain tumor cohort was compared with patients admitted for elective spinal surgery (n = 85) and a healthy control group (n = 80). Analysis of covariance was used to compare the performance of the 3 groups. The brain tumor cohort had significantly lower inspection time scores than the spinal surgery group (P = .005) and the healthy volunteer control group (P <.001). The effect size was moderate. There was a large effect size of participant group for the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test, Digit Symbol-Coding, and Verbal Fluency (P = .002). The performance of patients with brain tumors was significantly worse than that of both of the control groups. Inspection time was well-tolerated by patients with intracranial tumors. However, inspection time is neither as easy to perform nor as sensitive as some other measures of cognitive function. Although its lack of any motor speed or coordination requirements, conceptual simplicity, repeatability, and relative lack of learning effect make inspection time a potentially useful tool in clinical neuro-oncology, practical considerations will limit its use.