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Understanding a complex task: An exploratory study using a web‐based Trail Making Test digital version

Gustavo Ezequiel Juantorena

  • intendente güiraldes 2160,
  • Argentina
  • Gustavo Ezequiel Juantorena ¹
  • , Ignacio Linari ¹
  • , Agustín Petroni ¹
  • , Juan Esteban Kamienkowski ¹𝄒²
  • 1 Laboratorio de Inteligencia Artificial Aplicada, Instituto de Ciencias de la Computación, FCEyN (UBA-CONICET)
  • 2 Departamento de Física, FCEyN, UBA.

The Trail Making Test (TMT) is one of the most popular neuropsychological tasks. It has two parts: A) participants have to connect 20 consecutive numbers and B) both numbers and letters are connected in an alternate order (1-A-2-B, etc). Different measures of the performance on the TMT are standard markers of executive functioning in both clinical and neurotypical populations. In particular, the time completion difference between parts B and A reflects the additional cognitive load present in part B, mostly related to inhibitory control, working memory, and set switching. With a few exceptions, the TMT is administered in the original format, using pencil and paper.
Here, we designed two browser-based versions of the TMT that recorded continuous hand movements. We conducted two experiments. In the first experiment, we used a local browser-based task in the laboratory. In a second experiment, we implemented a digital version of the TMT and collected data online. We present preliminary results on both experiments, showing the well-known patterns on the TMT measures, in particular, the time difference between parts B and A. Moreover, we emphasize the potential of online experiments to access larger and more varied samples, along with other tasks, and describe a simple pipeline using open-access tools.