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Jim Lumsden (University of Bristol) - The State of Play: Gamification of cognitive assessment and cognitive training

A Mood Disorders Centre seminar
Date4 November 2016
Time12:00 to 13:00
PlaceMood Disorders Centre G17

Mood Disorder Centre Think-Tank seminar series. All welcome.

Jim Lumsden (University of Bristol) will be giving a seminar with the title 'The State of Play: Gamification of cognitive assessment and cognitive training'.

The Think-Tank seminar series is organised by Heather O’Mahen, Lorna Cook, Matthew Owens-Solari and Matthew Lomas (mdcadmin@exeter.ac.uk).


Cognitive tasks are typically viewed as effortful, frustrating, and repetitive, which often leads to participant disengagement. This, in turn, may negatively impact data quality and/or reduce intervention effects. However, gamification may provide a possible solution. If game design features can be incorporated into cognitive tasks without undermining their scientific value, then data quality, intervention effects, and participant engagement may be improved. In this talk I will discuss the process and findings of our recent systematic review of gamified cognitive testing and training. We aimed to explore and evaluate the ways in which gamification has been used for cognitive training and assessment purposes, hoping to answer 3 questions: (1) Why have researchers opted to use gamification? (2) What domains has gamification been applied in? (3) How successful has gamification been in cognitive research thus far?

I will then present two studies into the effects of individual game mechanics on the data and enjoyment ratings from a cognitive task designed to measure inhibitory control. In both studies, we tested three variants of the tasks: one in which participants were rewarded with points for performing optimally, one where the task was given an overall theme and graphical upgrade, and a third version which was a non-gamified comparator.

The first study was conducted both online and in the laboratory in order that we might compare results between the two sites. The second study was conducted online only, however it was of a longitudinal format, with between 4 to 10 sessions of assessment for each     participant. I will discuss our findings, and how they might guide the development of future gamified cognitive assessments.

Finally, I will talk briefly about my recent work involving lightly-gamified, longitudinal cognitive monitoring in dementia patients: using specialised hardware to facilitate engagement.

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