Learning and memory test suite

for your smartphone or tablet powered by Android


Copyright © 1982-2017 by Peter Laursen, DPsySc, DMedSc, PhD



The CFS-Mobile-Menu on Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1
Cognitive Function Scanner Mobile Learning and Memory Test Suite Menu.
Note: Buttons for activation of retention parts of the tests are dimmed out.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1.

✓ Four verbal and non-verbal tests each featuring separate sections for short-term memory/working memory and retention
✓ Unlimited number of parallel test sets via automatic randomization of stimuli from built-in pools every time any of the tests is opened to minimize overlearning if repeated examinations of the same individual, e.g. in longitudinal studies
✓ Unique parameterization. In addition to traditional psychometric parameters all four tests feature systematic and extensive qualitative response process recording and display, meeting the wishes of the most demanding psychologist
✓ Accurate and automatic time-taking to 1/10 of a second
✓ 20 different languages
✓ Sound-based test for the examination of subjects with lack of vision
✓ Internationally published validation studies based on large random samples of the general Danish population
✓ Examination anywhere
✓ Easy-to-overview response process charts for each test ready for paper print
✓ Fixed-length output file for each examination ready for export to relational database systems or datasets for subsequent analysis by means of statistical software like SAS, SPSS, Stata, etc.
✓ Manual in pdf-format (approx. 60 pages) with test instructions (in English), installation guide, etc.


Face Recognition Test

The Face Recognition Test is a test of recognition and retention for faces using a free recall (cueless) procedure. The portrait photos used in the test are all of Danish male citizens of Caucasian type not known by the general public. All photos are black and white. The ability and importance of being able to recognize faces is generally understood and accepted by everyone; thus the Face Recognition Test has high ecological validity and high face validity making it a good test to begin a neuropsychological examination.

The Face Recognition Test comprises three sections (a learning section, an immediate recognition section, and a delayed recognition/retention section). In the first section nine portrait photos are shown one by one for five seconds each. The subject is asked to look carefully at each photo so that he or she will be able to point out these nine photos, when they are presented at random in a series of 34 portrait photos. This second section is run immediately after the learning section and the subject is asked to respond ‘yes’ or ‘no’ via touch buttons to every portrait photo presented. The subject responds at his or her own pace. Once a response is given, correction is not possible. The third section is the section of delayed recall/retention. It comprises the 34 portrait photos presented in a different order and should be taken approximately an hour after the learning section has been completed.

The following photo shows the response screen of the retention section of the Face Recognition Test on a 10 inch tablet.

The CFS-Mobile-Face Recognition Test on a tablet

Responding to the Face Recognition Test. Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1.

The selection and sequence of the stimulus photos are made according to a random procedure each time a test section is initialized in order to reduce the test-retest effect. The parameters indicating the efficiency/span of short-term memory/working memory as well as long-term memory and coping style with a non-verbal memory task are:

Working memory/short-term memory:

  • Number of unrecognized faces

  • Number of incorrectly recognized faces

  • Response latencies total in seconds

  • 68 qualitative response process parameters explicating cognitive style, etc.


  • Retention:
  • Number of unrecognized faces

  • Number of incorrectly recognized faces

  • Response latencies total in seconds

  • 68 qualitative response process parameters explicating cognitive style, etc.


  • Word Recognition Test

    The Word Recognition Test is a test of recognition and retention for words using a free recall (cueless) procedure. The ability and importance of being able to remember words is generally understood and accepted by everyone; thus the Word Recognition Test has high ecological validity and high face validity making it a good test to have as second test in a neuropsychological examination.

    The words used in the Word Recognition Test are all adjectives or adverbs. This type of words is chosen, because they, in contrary to nouns, are considered making it more difficult for the subject to construct self-made cues during the few seconds of presentation.

    The Word Recognition Test offers 20 different languages independently of the language used for the entire examination. The languages available are Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Faroese, Finnish, French, German, Greenlandic, Icelandic, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Sami, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish. Additional languages are possible. Translation is done with Danish as basis with a word length of six-eight letters and two-three syllables. For Greenlandic and Sami the language structures do not allow stand-alone adjectives and adverbs wherefore nouns are used instead.

    The Word Recognition Test is technically parallel to the Face Recognition Test, thus allowing comparison of verbal and non-verbal memory. Thus the Word Recognition Test comprises three sections (a learning section, an immediate recognition section, and a delayed recognition/retention section). In the first section nine words are shown one by one for five seconds each. The subject is asked to look carefully at each word so that he or she will be able to point out these nine words, when they are presented at random in a series of 34 words. This second section is run immediately after the learning section and the subject is asked to respond ‘yes’ or ‘no’ via touch buttons to every word presented. The subject responds at his or her own pace. Once a response is given, correction is not possible. The third section is the section of delayed recall/retention. It comprises the 34 stimulus words presented in a different order and should be taken approximately an hour after the learning section has been completed.

    The following two photos show example screens of the Word Recognition Test on a 10 inch tablet. The first photo shows the screen from which the language is chosen for the words to be learned. The second photo shows the response screen of the immediate recognition section of the Word Recognition Test.

    National flags guiding the choise of language The CFS-Mobile-Word Recognition Test on a tablet
    Left or upper photo: Selecting a language. Right or lower photo: Display ready for response.
    Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1.

    As with the Face Recognition Test selection and sequence of the stimulus words are made according to a random procedure each time a test section is initialized in order to reduce the test-retest effect. The parameters indicating the efficiency/span of short-term memory/working memory as well as long-term memory and coping style with a verbal memory task are:

    Working memory/short-term memory:

  • Number of unrecognized words

  • Number of incorrectly recognized words

  • Response latencies total in seconds

  • 68 qualitative response process parameters explicating cognitive style, etc.


  • Retention:
  • Number of unrecognized words

  • Number of incorrectly recognized words

  • Response latencies total in seconds

  • 68 qualitative response process parameters explicating cognitive style, etc.


  • Sound Recognition Test

    The Sound Recognition Test is a new test to the Cognitive Function Scanner system. It is made over the same model as the Face Recognition Test and the Word Recognition Test but offers environmental sounds as stimuli instead of visual, and it is language independent. The new test is included to offer a learning and memory test suitable for the assessment of learning and memory of subjects with lack of vision. All sounds are recordings from common situations.

    Thus the Sound Recognition Test comprises three sections (a learning section, an immediate recognition section, and a delayed recognition/retention section). The sounds are played back via the tablet's or smartphone’s loudspeaker or a headphone set. The first section includes nine sounds, which the subject is asked to carefully listen to so that he or she will be able to point them out when they are presented at random in a series counting 34 environmental sounds. In the first section each sound stimulus lasts five seconds with a pause of two seconds to separate the stimuli from each other. The second section is run immediately after the learning section and the client is asked to respond ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to every sound presented via touch buttons in the lower corners of the screen of the smartphone or tablet (eventually the psychologist can do the tapping according to the client’s oral replies). Each sound stimulus loops until a response (not correctable) is given. The third section is the section of delayed recall/retention. It comprises the 34 sound stimuli presented in a different order and should be taken approximately an hour after the learning section has been completed.

    The following photo shows the performance summary screen of the Sound Recognition Test on a 10 inch tablet after the retention section is completed.

    The CFS-Mobile-Sound Recognition Test on a tablet

    Note: The display is rotated 180 degrees to prevent unintended tapping of buttons
    found along the lower edge of any Android driven mobile device. Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1.

    As with the Face Recognition Test and the Word Recognition Test the sequence of the stimulus sounds is made according to a random procedure each time a test section is initialized in order to reduce the test-retest effect. The parameters indicating the efficiency/span of short-term memory/working memory as well as long-term memory and coping style with an auditory memory task are:

    Working memory/short-term memory:

  • Number of unrecognized sounds

  • Number of incorrectly recognized sounds

  • Response latencies total in seconds

  • 68 qualitative response process parameters explicating cognitive style, etc.


  • Retention:
  • Number of unrecognized sounds

  • Number of incorrectly recognized sounds

  • Response latencies total in seconds

  • 68 qualitative response process parameters explicating cognitive style, etc.


  • Number Learning Test with selective reminding

    Like memory for faces and words memory for numbers (dates, pincodes, amounts, timetables, etc.) is important for everyone. In contrary to words and other things, numbers have no meaning by themselves thereby leaving self-made cueing difficult for the subject during a few seconds of presentation.

    In Cognitive Function Scanner Mobile Learning and Memory Test Suite the Number Learning Test comprises two sections: A section where the subject has to learn eight two-digit numbers within a maximum of ten trials featuring selective reminding (a.m. Buschke and Fuld 1974) and a section of delayed recall/retention. The numbers are randomly generated by the smartphone or tablet in the interval 21-99. The numbers are shown on the screen at intervals of three seconds. When the numbers are presented, the subject is asked to read them aloud concurrently with their appearance on the screen to ensure that he do not dwell on only a part of them. When all eight numbers have been shown, the subject is asked to respond by means of the numeric keyboard appearing to the right or left of the screen according to the information on handedness entered at the beginning of the examination. He may enter the numbers in whatever order. If some numbers are missing, only the missing numbers are shown to him again. After a few seconds, when the screen is cleared, the subject has to enter all eight numbers again. If some of the numbers are still missing, these are shown again. The test continues with this selective reminding until the subject has learned all eight numbers, or to the maximum of 10 trials.

    The following two photos show example screens of the Number Learning Test on a 10 inch tablet. The first photo shows the stimulus screen and the numeric keyboard in one of the 10 possible rounds available for learning. To resemble an orally administered learning and memory test every number entered by the subject is overwritten (not shown) immediately after the subject has touched the enter-button to prevent reinforcement from already correctly entered numbers and false reinforcement from incorrectly entered numbers. The second photo shows the performance summary after a completed retention section.

    The CFS-Mobile-Face Recognition Test on a tablet The CFS-Mobile-Face Recognition Test on a tablet
    Left or upper photo: Presentation of numbers to be learned. Right or lower photo: Display
    showing the psychometric parameters after completion of the retention part of the test.
    Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1.

    The number series is automatically changed each time the test is initialized.

    Like the other learning and memory tests in the Cognitive Function Scanner Mobile Learning and Memory Test Suite the Number Learning Test comprises a section of delayed recall/retention in which the client is asked to enter the numbers he remembers. This section is to be made approximately an hour after the learning process is completed. The parameters indicating the efficiency/span of short-term memory/working memory as well as regarding learning and long-term memory for numbers and coping style are:

    Working memory/short-term memory:

  • Number of unrecalled numbers in the first trial

  • Number of "invented" numbers in the first trial

  • Number of perseverations in the first trial

  • Response latency for each response in seconds.


  • Learning:
  • Number of unrecalled numbers in each trial

  • Number of retrieval errors in each trial (i.e. numbers which have been entered correctly at least once but for a period of time were unretrievable during the learning process)

  • Number of "invented" numbers in each trial


  • Number of perseverations in each trial

  • Total number of unrecalled numbers

  • Total number of retrieval errors

  • Total number of "invented" numbers

  • Total number of perseverations

  • Response latencies total in seconds

  • Up to more than 1,000 qualitative response process parameters (depending on the ability to learn) explicating cognitive style, etc.


  • Retention:
  • Number of unrecalled numbers

  • Number of "invented" numbers

  • Number of perseverations

  • Response latencies total in seconds.

  • Up to 90 qualitative response process parameters explicating cognitive style, etc.


  • Technical specification

    The Cognitive Function Scanner Mobile Learning and Memory Test Suite App is developed for use on ordinary smartphones and tablets driven by the Android operating system. The app has shown to work on Android releases from version 2.3 to 7.0 on the following devices:

  • Samsung Galaxy Xcover1, model GT-S5690 (Android 2.3)

  • Sony Xperia Tablet Z (Android 4.2)

  • Samsung Galaxy Xcover3, model SM-G388F (Android 4.4)

  • Samsung Galaxy Xcover3, model SM-G388F (Android 5.1)

  • Huawei Honor 6 (Android 6.0)

  • Samsung Galaxy Tablet A with S Pen, model SM-P580 (Android 6.0)

  • Samsung Galaxy Tablet S3 with S Pen, model SM-T820 (Android 7.0).


  • The current version of Cognitive Function Scanner Mobile, 1.15, takes up approximately 30 MB of the device memory.

    Installation is done via sideloading.

    History

    The prototype to the Cognitive Function Scanner system was developed back in 1982 in the labs of the Danish National Institute of Occupational Health. The purpose was to establish an efficient, standardized, and reliable method for assessment of cognitive status of the general public.

    The Cognitive Function Scanner was, among other things, used in two large-scale longitudinal studies (1982-83 and 1993-94) of cognitive performance of the general Danish population. The results from these two studies were published in two supplement volumes to the scientific journal Acta Neurologica Scandinavica in 1990 and 1997.

    At these occasions an extensive statistical material was collected across several age groups, gender and schooling (vocational training) and a set of norms was established for 45 psychometric parameters covering learning and memory, psychomotor functioning, visuo-spatial functioning, attention, perception, and vigilance. The norms cover the age span from 25 to 75 years. For decades the technical solutions of the system together with the unparalleled set of norms made the Cognitive Function Scanner probably to the most distinctive system of its kind.

    After the Cognitive Function Scanner came commercially available in 1988 it has mostly been used in traditional clinical work within neurology and psychiatry, i.e. for neuropsychological assessment with a diagnostic purpose. The users have been university hospitals and district hospitals all over the Nordic countries.

    In addition to learning and memory tests the prototype and all releases of the Cognitive Function Scanner for the PC-environment included tests of visuo-motor functioning, visuo-spatial functioning, attention, vigilance and concentration to ensure a high degree of comprehensiveness and ecological validity of the battery. These tests were done by means of very accurate graphics tablets featuring pens resembling ordinary ballpoint pens.

    With the introduction of the third generation of the Cognitive Function Scanner in 1996 a detailed time-linked continuous recording of the response process was included. In complex clinical cases these qualitative data can act as a valuable support for the interpretation of psychometric results. In addition to cognitive functioning and style the qualitative data elucidates and documents personality traits related to collaboration during the examination. Like all scoring and time measurements in the Cognitive Function Scanner systems the recording of the response process takes place "in the background", i.e. without any signs which can disturb the tested subject, and with the accuracy of 1/10 of a second.

    Especially for the testing of reaction-time in relation to acquisition or renewal of a driving license, a stand-alone version of the continuous Reaction Time Test was introduced by the late 1990s and marketed as the RT-Profile Test.

    Today the Cognitive Function Scanner Mobile Test Suites carry on the legacy from its predecessor for the PC to smartphones and tablets. A performance test suite for tablets featuring simulated paper and pencil tests for the assessment of psychomotor functioning, visuospatial functioning, attention and vigilance is on its way.

    References

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    Laursen P. A computer-aided technique for testing cognitive functions validated on a sample of Danes 30 to 60 years of age. Acta Neurologica Scandinavica 1990; vol. 82, suppl. 131.

    Laursen P. The impact of aging on cognitive functions. An 11 year follow-up study of four age cohorts. Acta Neurologica Scandinavica 1997; vol. 96, suppl. 172.

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    Laursen P, Eskelinen L. Information process recording and psychometrics in computer-aided neuropsychological assessment. The 4th Nordic Neuropsychology Symposium, Espoo, Finland, August 1991.

    Laursen P, Sams T. Establishing a statistically based rejection point in a vigilance test conducted in relation to renewal of driving license based on a large scale study of the general population. Invited speech given at 7th Nordic Meeting in Neuropsychology, Oslo 23-26 July 2001.

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    Warrington EK, Taylor AM. Immediate memory for faces: long- or short-term memory? Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 1973; 25: 316-322.