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A flexible gaming environment for reliably measuring cognitive control


Wells, L and Kucina, T and Kohl, AT and Lewis, I and de Salas, K and Aidman, E and Heathcote, A, A flexible gaming environment for reliably measuring cognitive control, Proceedings of the 2021 Human Factors and Medicine Research Symposium - Applying Neuroscience to Performance: From Rehabilitation to Human Cognitive Augmentation, 11-12 October 2021, Rome, Italy, pp. 14.1-14.14. (2021) [Non Refereed Conference Paper]

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Over the last few years, it has become accepted that reliable measurement of individual cognitive abilities requires participants to complete many more trials and/or to use tasks with larger effect sizes than are typical of existing cognitive batteries. This project develops a battery of cognitive control tests enabling efficient and reliable measurement of cognitive control abilities crucial for high performance under time pressure. The test battery is implemented in the Unity game engine, and accessible online using only a web browser with no installation. Gaming mechanics (e.g., variety, feedback, rewards, and a leader board) and an integrated story line maintain engagement over extended and demanding testing sessions. The battery implements most prominent measures of cognitive control including: 1) working memory (single and dual n-back tasks), 2) response inhibition (stop-signal task), 3) conflict tasks (Simon, Flanker and Stroop tasks), 4) multi-tasking, and 5) task switching. The different measures can be flexibly combined within a coherent "room-clearing" narrative, and self-contained tutorials enable easily deployed online testing. Novel versions of the conflict tasks were developed to increase effect sizes and reliability, and they were tested in an online experiment. We develop a rigorous methodology for quantifying the ability of the tests to produce reliable measurements of individual differences and report the results of applying it to data from the experiment. We conclude that these new conflict tasks produce much more reliable measurement than has previously been achieved.

Item Details

Item Type:Non Refereed Conference Paper
Keywords:cognitive psychology, serious games
Research Division:Information and Computing Sciences
Research Group:Graphics, augmented reality and games
Research Field:Serious games
Objective Division:Defence
Objective Group:Defence
Objective Field:Emerging defence technologies
UTAS Author:Wells, L (Dr Lindsay Wells)
UTAS Author:Kucina, T (Ms Talira Kucina)
UTAS Author:Kohl, AT (Ms Amelia Kohl)
UTAS Author:Lewis, I (Dr Ian Lewis)
UTAS Author:de Salas, K (Associate Professor Kristy de Salas)
ID Code:147227
Year Published:2021
Deposited By:Information and Communication Technology
Deposited On:2021-10-19
Last Modified:2021-10-22

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