Cognitive Assessment using Mobile Phones
Test of memory, attention and reaction time are used for many purposes, including research on patients with brain injury, stroke or cognitive impairment, and assessment of impairment due to alcohol, drugs, or lack of sleep. These tests can be done in the lab, usually using a computer, or in the field, sometimes user paper-based tests or and sometimes with portable computers or other electronic devices
The everyday life approach to cognitive assessment is similar to the use of Ecological Momentary Assessment to measure subjective experiences. An example of this is the recently completed study looking at effects of alcohol consumption on performance
Tests can run on any JavaŽ phone as well as on Android smartphones. Large numbers of people already own suitable phones and are familiar with using them. Thus large scale studies involving data collection during the person's daily life are practical. The phone can automatically transmit results to the server allowing data to be reviewed immediately. The main limitation is screen size, but all the core tests can be run on a standard mobile phone.
The application requirements depend on the specific study protocol, so we generally provide solutions tailored to a user's needs. A broad selection of tests is available for inclusion, or additional tests may be developed to meet a user's requirements. A sample application for the JavaŽ phone is available for evaluation, and can be obtained by clicking here.
As well as the everyday life/EMA paradigm, the portable testing approach may also be useful in other ways:
Such testing may use mobile phones. Tests are also available for tablet computers, which offer a broader range of tests due to the larger screen size.
|One concern with everyday assessment is that it is unsupervised, and the circumstances of testing are unknown. Thus it is important to obtain data that can give information about performance parameters. Two studies illustrate this. The first (Tiplady 2004, British Psychological Society) was an initial evaluation in which a mobile phone was used in a lab-based study. The second (Tiplady, Paterson, Scholey 2005, European Behavioural Pharmacology Society) took the mobile phone into peoples' homes, and assessed cognitive function in an everyday setting. The phone automatically sent data back to the central server. Both these studies showed that reaction time increased with task complexity, as illustrated on the right.. This helps to confirm that volunteers are "on-task", and using the tests in a similar way to those in laboratory studies..|
|Mobile phones can also be used to administer mood scales, for example visual analogue scales. Paper scales are usually 100 mm long, while limitations of screen size means that scales on a mobile phone are much shorter. A study presented recently at the British Psychological Society showed that 21 mm scales on a mobile phone are just as sensitive to change as 100 mm paper scales||