Ambulant cognitive assessment using a smartphone

C. Timmers, A. Maeghs, M. Vestjens, C.C.W. Bonnemayer, H. Hamers, A. Blokland*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The focus of neuropsychology is to understand the relationship between assessment results and everyday cognitive abilities and disabilities. However, the generalizability of traditional neuropsychological tests to real-life behaviors, the ecological validity, is compromised by the test environment, among other things. Neuropsychological tests are often completed in a laboratory setting that is typically quiet with few distractions. This is very unlike most everyday environments. The aim of the present study was to investigate the possibility of using a smartphone in standardized cognitive assessment. A short-term memory task was obtained from young adults in either an everyday-life environment or a controlled test setting at four time points during a day. Results show no significant differences between the task performances in both conditions. There was no indication that fatigue, tension, or environmental noise had an effect on task performance. High correlations between subsequent time points were found in the everyday-life environment, suggesting a high test-retest reliability and commitment of the participants. The present study demonstrates that smartphones can be used to assess cognitive functions outside a laboratory setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-142
Number of pages7
JournalApplied Neuropsychology-Adult
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • LIFE
  • MOOD
  • behavioral analysis
  • behavioral neuropsychology
  • computer applications
  • ecological validity
  • short-term memory
  • smartphone
  • test environment

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