The benefits of language and culture independent touchscreen cognitive tests

Posted on 11 March 2015 in Clinical Trials / Research

When assessing cognitive function, tests that are reliable, time and cost efficient and are comparable across cultures and languages are the key to producing accurate and valid results. There are various cognitive assessment tools out there, but what are the benefits of using language and culture independent touchscreen tests such as Cantab? 
Operational Scientist Alexandra Shortland explains.

Non-verbal tests, those which do not use or involve words, and are therefore independent of language, allow for subjects of any nationality to complete them.  Cantab tests comprise of abstract components with different shapes, colors and lines to form an arrangement which is independent of any other shape or object which an individual could relate to in the real world, therefore making Cantab tests culturally neutral.

Data collected on tests which are non-verbal and utilize abstract stimuli are therefore comparable with data collected using the same tests in another country. Cantab tests help optimize global study design and allow for easier data interpretation with previous studies using the same tests, regardless of whether the subjects were from the same demographic background.

Many cognitive tests still comprise of pencil and paper techniques, which are time consuming and, although seemingly cheap, are costly in the long run. The administration of pencil and paper tests is often not standardized which increases the risk of “rater bias” where subjects are influenced by the individuals administering assessments. The use of pencil and paper also makes comparing data to previous studies difficult. 

The comparability of Cantab tests is further enhanced by the simplistic nature of touchscreen technology; the assessments have been designed to make it easier for the subject to follow and respond to instructions, providing a closer correlation between tests and outcome measures. The game-like quality and objective feedback encourage high subject compliance. Standardized test administration manuals provided with the Cantab Solutions and Cantab Research Suite products ensure consistent test administration across all participating test sites and data is collected in a simple, ready to use form. The recently launched Cantab Connect products (CTIS-Profile, CTIS-Profile 2+, and Cantab Connect Research) maximize standardized administration by using voice-over instructions, ensuring greater trial efficiency and data quality to inform scientific decision making. Cantab Connect products also use cloud technology to support scalable studies working across multiple locations simultaneously with data being automatically uploaded to the cloud server.

Cantab products allow for scalable, standardized testing of subjects across cultures, languages and continents producing data that is comparable and of the highest quality. Cantab tests are also highly sensitive to small changes in cognitive function across all domains.

Using Cantab technology ensures that studies measure all aspects of cognition, are easy to set up, administer and report on - saving costs, reducing data errors and increasing the accuracy and validity of study results. Cantab is currently used in over 800 universities, in almost 80 countries, and is cited in more than 1500 publications.