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I find the IPad to be a great piece of hardware that is easy to bring along and that has an intuitive touch interface. This would make it an ideal platform for many cognitive tests such as n-back. As the IPad seems to have a short response latency (observation based on the plethora of music aplications available) reaction time tests should also be able to work ok.

My question is: Are there any cognitive tests, or test suits, available on the IPad (and possible the Iphone).

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My guess is that any web-based test is also suitable for iPads and iPhones, right? (Well, with the exception of flash-based ones.) –  Alpha Feb 28 '12 at 23:35
Perhaps I'm ignorant to the latest software, but I'd assume most web-based testing isn't great for getting reaction times. Some apps that can do E-prime style reaction time experiments would be most interesting. –  zergylord Mar 1 '12 at 0:27
Note that your claim about the shortness of response latency is questionable. I have not played around much with iPads, but if there is something like 1/10th of a second delay (as the video suggests) then that is completely unacceptable for psychometrics. –  Artem Kaznatcheev Mar 15 '12 at 7:40
Agreed with Artem. It's very risky to do this until hardware such as that shown in the video linked to becomes widely available. –  vizzero Mar 22 '12 at 12:12
I am currently working for www.senselabs.com - we've got cognitive & neuro training/assessment for iPads. Can confirm that latency has been very problematic for us - not just the amount of latency, but more specifically the high variance in older devices. We have found that the latency of the iPad Air is quite consistent though. –  James Billingham Apr 25 '14 at 9:58

11 Answers 11

FingerFriendlySoft has created an app for all iOS devices (that is, iPod touch, iPhone and iPad) that is called N-back Suite. This is, as the name suggests, an app which lets you take the n-back test.

Included are both the single and the dual n-back test and you can chose different amounts of n (from 1 to 10), five different speeds, and different type of stimuli for the two tasks (color, letters, images, 3x3 matrixes, and sounds).

You can also export your results to a tab delimited text file that you can analyse using statistical software (or by hand if you feel a bit masochistic), for example R.

So, I guess, with this example in mind, that the answer to your quesion is "yes" :)

enter image description here

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I would say there are no such tests/toolboxes, that would allow you to properly conduct any cognitive testing on iPhone, iPad or even using web-based applications. There are some games that attempt to do it, like the one suggested by @Speldosa, but nothing really serious.

At the moment there seem to be no way to control and record different variables (like reaction time) as tightly as with desktop application, like Psychtoolbox or Neurobehavioural System Presentation (you will find plenty of problems there anyway). What's more, iPhone and iPad are tightly controlled platforms, and developers are limited in getting access to some user parameters and data. For example getting informations about parameters like brightness/contrast or volume would be important for cognitive testing apps by default. But it's unlikely to be possible with the current Apple policy (I would bid more for Android devices, as they are much more open for such purposes).

I agree tho that touch panels are promising platform. I imagine people do work on that in some labs, using jailbroken devices, but I am not aware of anything available in the public domain at the moment.

Another issue is novelty of using touch devices. People didn't tested them yet in terms of proper psychophysical accuracy, it's still undiscovered area. Potential seem to be very promising (think eye tracking using iPad camera for example), but we shall see what comes out of it.

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Not all cognitive tests involve RT, though. Standard laboratory memory tests would be just fine if administered on a tablet (assuming you wouldn't want to look at latency data later, although the times would be much higher and therefore more proportionally accurate anyway). –  Andy DeSoto Mar 16 '12 at 15:54
@AndyDeSoto: Sure, but you probably want to control the duration of stimuli appearance on the screen in case of memory tests. At the moment, anything that involves any time measurements for tablets is a gray area, and most likely not suitable from the psychophysics perspective - unless you are able to fine tune it. ArtemKaznatcheev pointed out the problem with response latency above. –  Geek On Acid Mar 17 '12 at 13:49

@Jeromy Anglim: I'm actually creating a serial response time task (a widely used learning task) for the iPad now. We hope to get it up in the appstore soon but I'm using it along with a few others for my master's thesis. We're almost done putting the finishing touches on the task and hope to post a youtube video soon of the task. We're not intending to make any money off of the app and will be providing the source code for empirical scrutiny and maybe improvement of the paradigm (once it comes out).

As per the general discussion concerning RT and psychophysical properties of the iPad: In my task I am not necessarily concerned with the perceptual delay appearing AFTER you've touched an object. Rather I'm more concerned about the delay in the iPad's speed of registering a touch on the screen as I'm saving response time based upon the participant touch. I'm not very familiar with the steps involved in the touch registration process but assume a piece of the overall 100 ms delay is in the time it takes for the iPad to register the touch. I also assume that this would be a relatively small proportion of that 100ms. However, I then have to worry about the time at which the iPad's hardward and then iOS "grace" my app with this information (about this, I'm completely clueless). As my task is about visuomotor implicit learning I may expect to see differences across time on the order of tens of milliseconds and so am certainly concerned about the touch registration delay from: screen touch >> hardware >> iOS >> my app.

Any ideas on this second form of delay?

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Thanks for the answer, Dan, welcome to the site! Interested to be hearing more about this! –  Andy DeSoto Apr 2 '12 at 13:33
@Dan Welcome to the site. It's great to have someone with your expertise involved. It sounds you may have a separate question. If so, perhaps you'd consider editing your answer and moving the question component into a separate question? –  Jeromy Anglim Apr 30 '12 at 23:55
The issue with iPads is not just the delay, but more importantly the variance of the delay. –  James Billingham Apr 25 '14 at 9:59

There is now an app available on the iPad offering a cognitive test battery. It is a commercial application but fairly inexpensive. Joggle Research adapts several widely validated tests to the touch platform. Test result data is stored and instantly accessible on a cloud service (with a free tier to try it out).

Some here have noted potential limitations of iOS however it offers some great advantages the make it a great platform for cognitive testing. Response time measurement is a problem on all general purpose operating systems that needs to be carefully addressed. The iPad offers a very consistent precision and performance platform for all models. For this factor, a closely controlled "closed" platform actually offers a great benefit.

I would love to engage in dialog with those interested in bringing cognitive testing to touch platforms.

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On one of the pages, Joggle lists that is has many academic citations. Is this for Joggle's version of the task or for the task in general? Do you know of any academic references that have explicitly validated the Joggle implementation of these tasks? –  Jeromy Anglim Jun 15 '13 at 10:14
@Jeromy Anglim The citations are for the task in general. The Joggle Research versions of the tests are taken directly from web and windows versions. In some cases the previous validations will apply directly (multiple choice selection tests). In other cases there have been some adaptations to touch or where reaction times might be uniformly different. We are in the process of validating these differences and would encourage participation. –  Thom McCann Jun 17 '13 at 8:04

I'm currently working on a similar project and wanted to share some info.

A recent paper reports a similar concern but also a solution via the iPad's built in mic. http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0057364

"The touch screen alone cannot be used for high temporal resolution measurements because of the inherent delay associated with sensing touch via a capacitive screen as well as the fact that these events are then discretized to the frame refresh rate of 60 Hz. A temporal resolution of 0.2 msec was achieved by using the built-in microphone (44.1 kHz sampling rate) on the iPad to record the vibrations produced by touch onset and offset"

I think this tutorial is relevant here: http://mobileorchard.com/tutorial-detecting-when-a-user-blows-into-the-mic/

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www.cognitive-innovations.com just released an iPad based cognitive assessment. Looks pretty comprehensive.

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There is a program called Paradigm that allows you to build millisecond-accurate neurocognitive experiments for iOS devices. The experiment builder is like E-Prime but easier to use. The app is available in the app store. You upload your experiments to a Dropbox and then log in to access them through the app. It's pretty flexible. I've used it to build n-back, Visual World, and Match-To-Sample tasks.



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We have developed an iPad cognitive test battery (CABPad) for use at bedside with stroke patients: www.cognisoft.info. It is used for research at two university hospitals in Copenhagen and a publication on validation is currently being prepared for publication (see this abstract from The International Stroke Conference, Feb 2015: L Willer, PM Pedersen, A Gullach, HB Forchhammer, HK Christensen: Assessment Of Cognitive Symptoms In Sub-acute Stroke With An iPad Test-battery. Stroke 2015; 46: ATP415.). The test battery is currently available in Danish and English, with translations to Norwegian, German, Italinan, Spanish, Portuguese an Brazilian Portuguese ongoing and expected finished early autumn 2015. CABPad is available on the AppStore. Please mail any questions to: mail@cognisoft.dk.

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I just found PAR has some tests available on PARiConnect, however they are very limited and mostly for psych evals (ie: BRIEF, CAD, etc.)

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I've been developing an online platform to run HTML5/Javascript experiments, recruit participants via email, Facebook, or Twitter, and collect and evaluate results in real time on any web browser including mobile devices.

Mobile devices are challenging though: On the one hand the different and limited form factors of phones and tablets impose restrictions on any experiment's layout; on the other hand, as @Steve Trawley pointed out, the devices inherent delay to recognize touch events impose restrictions on any experiment's accuracy.

However depending on your use case the experiment may still produce viable results on mobile devices.

Please see stato.de for a demo that works on phones, tablets, and desktops; it does not require signup.

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