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Case studies

To date over 125,000 tests have been conducted with Psytools along with more than 250,000 web-based screening tests. Further details on a selection of our studies are presented below.

The IMAGEN study

IMAGEN image

The IMAGEN study's aim is to identify and characterise specific genetically-influenced alterations in reinforcer sensitivity and executive control which are manifest in adolescence and carry the risk for overt psychopathology later in life.

Cognitive, behavioural, clinical and neuroimaging data from 2000 adolescents along with their families will be gathered and the participants followed-up in the fourth year of the study. The study involves participants and research teams from England, France, Ireland and Germany.

Working with Delosis has enabled the Imagen study to conduct an initial assessment battery with their subject population at the point of recruitment in home or school. This has freed valuable time with the subjects when they present at the scanning centre, expanding the range of data gathered by the study.

Psytools is also used at the scanning centres for parental assessments and the ease with which it fits into a distributed testing environment, both at home and in the lab, has greatly simplified the creation of this multi-centre study. Similarly the ability of Psytools to deploy multiple language versions of a single test battery was a critical requirement for the Imagen study.

"Maintaining a high degree of standardisation across sites is a constant challenge for a large multi-centre study such as Imagen. The uniform testing platform provided by Psytools has enabled us to address this challenge. Additionally the flexible nature of Psytools' task-branching has allowed us to construct a battery which is sensitive enough to detect low-incidence features in our extensive sample without the compromise of long assessment times."

- Dr Maren Struve, Postdoctoral Researcher

The Musical Listening Test

The Musical Listening Test image

Professor Tim Griffiths from Newcastle University and his team at University College London approached Delosis looking for a way to increase their subject pool for their research into Amusia or "tone-deafness".

In the first week after the test was launched more than 20,000 people completed it, after a year this had risen to over 100,000. The inclusion of a second test in 2007 has attracted a further 40,000 subjects and provided a new dimension to the data available to the researchers.

This phenomenal response has allowed the researchers to recruit over 120 subjects with amusia and has given them access to the largest sample of this special population anywhere in the world.

"The success of the Delosis website in screening such a vast number of people has been invaluable for our research. Infact, I'm not sure I would even have a research programme if it wasn't for this website! We are doing in depth behavioural, genetic and brain imaging studies that would not have been possible without the increased sample that Delosis made possible."

- Dr Lauren Stewart, Lecturer

The TEDS-Environment study

TEDS-Environment emotion recognition task

The TEDS-Environment study is a longitudinal twin study funded by the Medical Research Council and based at the Institute of Psychiatry in London.

The study involves regular visits into over 1100 family homes during which parents are interviewed and a variety of questionnaire based and cognitive measures are administered to the twins.

Delosis have worked closely with Dr Kim-Cohen to build an emotion recognition task based on the Ekman Faces in the Psytools framework. The study have chosen economical MS Windows based tablet PCs as their testing platform, allowing the subjects to interact with the task by simply clicking on the screen.

Once the home visit is over the research workers connect to the internet by modem or the wireless connectivity built into the PCs to allow the data collected that day to be returned securely by Psytools for immediate analysis.

"Working with Delosis, from initial task design to modifications to implementation, has been a remarkably smooth and rewarding process. We've been continually pleased with the level of responsiveness, flexibility, and support we've received. We couldn't be more pleased with the results and we couldn't have done it without Delosis."

- Dr Julia Kim-Cohen, Assistant Professor

"Delosis have produced an efficient and flexible application for our study which integrates good psychological test design and effective data capture. Their web based methods allow us to have our data in a timely manner which has helped us to monitor the effectiveness of our tests as well as the work of our interviewers in a real time environment. This has allowed us to maximize the effectiveness of our study while minimizing our data processing costs."

- Alan Taylor, Biostatistician

The LINCS study

LINCS block design task

The LINCS study is an MRC funded research project assessing the prevalence of cognitive style biases in both the typically developing and autistic populations. Dr Francesca Happé is the principal investigator on this project.

One section of this study required the administration of a cognitive test battery to around 400 twin pairs. Delosis made it possible to bring the benefits of computer based testing to this distributed study using the Psytools framework.

CDs containing the Psytools software and the testing battery were sent to the subject population for completion on their home computers or at school. This method of distribution allowed the families to participate in the study whilst spending just a few moments on-line to securely return their results; minimising the costs incurred by the families.

"The twins thoroughly enjoyed completing the games and it was nice to see them concentrate for such a long time. It did cause some disagreements though as they were challenging each other as to who got the most correct! I looked into the tasks and found them very interesting, I hope that it has been of great help into further research."

- Parental feedback from the LINCS study