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Thesis Format

Integrated Article


Master of Science




Morton, J. Bruce


Exploratory characterization of a novel mobile game battery was conducted via a correlational comparison with a standardized assessment of executive functioning. Previous literature has shown that computer-based and survey-based instruments have either very weak correlation or no correlation at all – giving the impression that these instruments may not measure the same constructs of executive functioning. Findings from the current exploratory study demonstrated significant associations but weak correlational strength between tasks from the computer-based game battery and an updated standardized survey-based instrument. This confirmed a trend found in previous literature, demonstrating little overlap between both instruments in executive functioning measurement. Individual congruency effects and sequential congruency effects from the game battery were not found to have any significant correlation with the survey-based instrument. Results from this study will be used to direct continuing development of the game battery, and reduce measurement differences between computer-based and survey-based executive functioning assessments.

Summary for Lay Audience

Examining childhood cognition is a necessary means of helping to identify abnormal behaviours in children that may indicate a clinical diagnosis. To help recognize and diagnose these abnormal levels of behaviour, two types of tools have been developed by psychologists – survey-based and performance-based methods of diagnosis. Survey-based tools are when a psychologist has a child or parent fill out a survey and record how often and how well the child behaves in certain ways. Performance-based tools rely on a child participating in a task structured to measure how well they perform in specific cognitive processes. Recent computer-based versions of these performance-based tools have made administering these tasks even easier, with computers now recording each child’s responses automatically.

Despite these advancements, a known issue for both survey-based and performance-based tools is that they do not measure the same cognitive processes. The goal of the current study was to find if these differences were still present in a recently updated version of a classic survey-based tool, the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Functioning (BRIEF2), and a newly developed computer-based tool comprised of classic performance-based tasks, the Mobile Assessment of Executive Functioning (MAXFun game battery). The MAXFun game battery was administered to children with normal cognitive development in primary schools (8-12 years old) from Shanghai, China and the BRIEF2 survey was given to homeroom teachers to fill out for each participating child. It was found that comparisons between the MAXFun game battery and the BRIEF2 did not provide strong enough evidence to conclude that both tools measure the same cognitive processes. For future follow-up studies, it is recommended that the MAXFun game battery should be optimized to better assess specific cognitive processes. A back-translation of the BRIEF2 from written Chinese to English would also be helpful for identifying sources of translation error.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.