The Effects of Technology-Related and Software-Related Factors on Neurocognitive Baseline Test Performance Using ImPACT

Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology. 2011 Sep;

26(6):521.

Schatz, P. and N. Cameron.

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Abstract:

Objective: Computer-based tests are commonly used to document pre-season neurocognitive status. Given that testing is widely conducted in school computer laboratories, we sought to identify effects of technology-related (e.g., screen resolution, available memory) and software-related (e.g., test version) factors on neurocognitive baseline test performance using ImPACT. Method: The sample was comprised of 536 high school and college athletes who completed pre-season baseline testing using the desktop versions of ImPACT. Participants were assigned to independent groups on the basis of screen resolution (600 × 800, 768 × 1024, 1024 × 1288), user memory (,1000, 1000– 2000, 2000+), and ImPACT Version (1.2 – 2.3, 3.4 – 3.6, 5.6– 6.7). Participants scoring .30 on the Impulse Control composite were excluded. Results: ANOVAs revealed: (i) significant effects of screen resolution on verbal (p ¼ .022) and visual memory (p ¼ .039) composite scores; (ii) significant effects of ImPACT version on verbal and visual memory (p ¼ .001) and motor processing speed (p ¼ .016) scores; (iii) significant effects of user memory on visual memory composite scores (p ¼ .001). Conclusions: It appears that baseline neurocognitive testing using the desktop versions of ImPACT is being conducted on a wide variety of computers, with a variety of versions. In addition, tests are being administered on monitors set at a variety of screen resolutions. All of these factors appear to contribute to variability on test scores. While the newer version of ImPACT is web-based, and may be less affected by these factors, establishing recommended settings for users of the desktop version is warranted along with empirical testing of these factors on the online version.

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