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September 03, 2014

Mobile ‘Game’ Contributes to Neuroscience

One of the biggest cognitive science experiments ever carried out has revealed that mobile games can serve as reliable and accurate tools for psychologists to conduct research. The Great Brain Experiment, a free app from iOS and Android, was created by neuroscientists at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging as a way to “gamify” neuroscience experiments and collect data.

The app, which is already being used by more than 60,000 people, tests various functions such as memory, impulsivity, attention and decision-making. All results are anonymous, but users can compare their results with the population at large, and all data drawn from the app is used to contribute to real scientific research.

It’s believed that apps like this could make significant contributions to psychological and neuroscientific research, as the sheer number and diversity of potential study participants allows researchers to take new approaches to old questions.

“By 2015, there will be an estimated two billion smartphone users worldwide. In time, data from simple apps could be combined with medical, genetic or lifestyle information to provide a novel tool for risk prediction and health monitoring,” said researchers at the Wellcome Trust.