The tasks that make up the Cogstate Computerized Cognitive Assessment Tool (CCAT) were designed with kids in mind. They’re fast-paced, play to their competitive spirit, and don’t require studying.
“We know kids look forward to playing games,” said David Darby, co-founder of CogState and co-creator of the Cogstate CCAT with Dr. Paul Maruff, CogState chief science officer. “So, we strove to create a game-like test that was also brief, motivating, and universally appealing.”
The two found the answer in a common deck of French playing cards which offer the unique combination of fun, familiarity, and competition. Maruff originally tested the card idea with Indonesian children while on vacation in Bali. He then spent time testing computerized card games in Northern Australia with Australian aborigines. They discovered that simple tests of cognition could be done visually. To move the cognitive test online, they added visual and audio feedback to help kids improve their performance.
“Even though it looks like a game and is motivating for the test-taker, the tasks are based on sound and well-established science,” added Darby. The paradigms used are long-known psychological techniques regarding learning, memory, processing speed, and accuracy.
“The brain likes making sense of new things,” said Darby, “and kids get bored easy. Concealing and revealing cards allows for anticipation and curiosity – which both brains and kids thoroughly enjoy.”
Tips for Successful Test Taking: A Baseline test is best performed in an environment free from distractions. Encourage Athletes to put away their cell phones, take a Practice test, listen closely to the instructions, stay focused, relax and give it their best effort.