[Online/At Home Completion] Measurement of Cognitive Performance through Smartphone Tasks


Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) is the most common form of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Despite how common mTBI is, we know little about the trajectory of cognitive recovery during the first three months post injury. The overall aim of this project is to be able to measure cognitive performance using smartphones in healthy individuals, in order to investigate its potential for future use in tracking cognitive recovery in patients with mTBI.

Research Questions / Hypotheses

This portion of the study aimed to investigate the test-retest reliability of the n-back administered via the smartphone app, over a two-week period. The primary research question was whether there is a significant test-retest correlation between performances on the CheckCog version of the n-back as measured across two timepoints, two weeks apart.


2 REP participants were involved with this study in semester 1, 2020. Participants were required to own a smartphone in order to be eligible for inclusion in the study, with CheckCog available for both iPhone and Android. Exclusion criteria included individuals who fulfilled criteria for mTBI as outlined by the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre Task Force, possessed any upper limb injury that may affect ability to complete smartphone tasks, and/or who had a current psychiatric diagnosis that could affect performance on cognitive tasks.    Additionally, participants who had completed the following REP studies were not able to participate: 'Tracking Cognitive Recovery in Patients with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Using Smartphones' and 'Cognition and drug use behaviour in the general population'.


Participation in this study involved completion of tasks on two separate days, two weeks apart. Each day of participation involved two components: (1) Completion of a short online survey, and (2) Downloading and use of a freely available smartphone application designed for this study (CheckCog). Both aspects of this study could be completed in the participants' home in their own time. It took approximately 30 minutes to complete these two components.    (1) Participants completed a short online questionnaire (approximately 15 minutes) at the initial assessment time point. These questionnaires helped us to understand participants' mood and health.    (2) Participants also downloaded and used a freely available smartphone application designed for this study (CheckCog) which included a version the n-back paradigm. They completed short cognitive tasks using their smartphone at home/work/in a sufficiently quiet place (15 minutes).    Two weeks' after initial completion, participants will again complete the online survey and smartphone application tasks. They received an automated email with instructions/links for these tasks.


In relation to demographics, descriptive statistics will be run on the data from the Qualtrics questionnaire to describe the overall sample. Correlational analyses will be run to investigate the relationship between performance on the CheckCog version of the n-back at Time 1 and at Time 2.


Final results and implications are pending. The results will be communicated through an MPsych thesis.