Personal Computer Tests

The PC is a very versatile platform for cognitive testing. Some tests can be run using only the computer. For example the Arrow Flanker Test  uses the arrow keys on the computer keyboard for left and right responses. Other tests might use the spacebar or the mouse for responses.

If the two shapes are the same, you press a YES key, if not (as in this example) you press NO. The rotation between the shapes varies - the task gets harder as the rotation increases!

The large screen makes it possible to present a wide variety of tests. An example is mental rotation, shown on the left. This would be difficult to implement on a smartphone/ PDA, and quite impossible on a standard mobile phone!

It is also possible to use additional equipment with PCs. For example some tests use their own response boxes. These avoid interference from unused keys, and can make timing of responses more consistent. In some special apparatus is needed to present stimuli, particularly if these need to be shown in the visual periphery.

Testing on PCs allows the use of the internet, both to download tests and to transfer results rapidly to a secure central server. Tests can be run within a browser, and incorporated into a website, allowing the web to be used as a tool, for recruitment as well as for test management.

The core test battery can be set up to run on a stand-alone PC or in a web browse. Tests for the standalone PC are available as a standard package from which desired tests can be selected. For the web, custom packages are built for specific projects. 

Here is a web site that use the test system. This is a caffeine research project that is looking for both caffeine users and non-users. If you have 20 minutes or so to help as a volunteer, that would be great!:

www.caffeineresearch.org.uk