Initial Psychometric Properties of 7 NeuroUX Remote Ecological Momentary Cognitive Tests Among People With Bipolar Disorder: Validation Study

J Med Internet Res. 2022 Jul 29;24(7):e36665. doi: 10.2196/36665.


Background: As smartphone technology has become nearly ubiquitous, there is a growing body of literature suggesting that ecological momentary cognitive testing (EMCT) offers advantages over traditional pen-and-paper psychological assessment. We introduce a newly developed platform for the self-administration of cognitive tests in ecologically valid ways.

Objective: The aim of this study is to develop a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act-compliant EMCT smartphone-based platform for the frequent and repeated testing of cognitive abilities in everyday life. This study examines the psychometric properties of 7 mobile cognitive tests covering domains of processing speed, visual working memory, recognition memory, and response inhibition within our platform among persons with and without bipolar disorder (BD). Ultimately, if shown to have adequate psychometric properties, EMCTs may be useful in research on BD and other neurological and psychiatric illnesses.

Methods: A total of 45 persons with BD and 21 demographically comparable healthy volunteer participants (aged 18-65 years) completed smartphone-based EMCTs 3 times daily for 14 days. Each EMCT session lasted approximately 1.5 minutes. Only 2 to 3 tests were administered in any given session, no test was administered more than once per day, and alternate test versions were administered in each session.

Results: The mean adherence to the EMCT protocol was 69.7% (SD 20.5%), resulting in 3965 valid and complete tests across the full sample. Participants were significantly more likely to miss tests on later versus earlier study days. Adherence did not differ by diagnostic status, suggesting that BD does not interfere with EMCT participation. In most tests, age and education were related to EMCT performance in expected directions. The average performances on most EMCTs were moderately to strongly correlated with the National Institutes of Health Toolbox Cognition Battery. Practice effects were observed in 5 tests, with significant differences in practice effects by BD status in 3 tests.

Conclusions: Although additional reliability and validity data are needed, this study provides initial psychometric support for EMCTs in the assessment of cognitive performance in real-world contexts in BD.

Keywords: ambulatory assessment; ecological momentary assessment; mobile health; mobile phone; neuropsychology; practice effects; serious mental illness; testing; validity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bipolar Disorder* / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders* / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results