Moving psychological assessment out of the controlled laboratory setting: Practical challenges
AuthorHolmlund, Terje Bektesevic; Foltz, Peter W.; Cohen, Alex S.; Johansen, Håvard D.; Sigurdsen, Randi; Fugeli, Pål; Bergsager, Dagfinn; Cheng, Jian; Bernstein, Jared; Rosenfeld, Elizabeth; Elvevåg, Brita
Behavioral assessment using smart devices affords novel methods, notably remote self-administration by the individuals themselves. However, this new approach requires navigating complex legal and technical terrain. Given the limited empirical data that currently exists, we provide and discuss anecdotes of the methodological, technical, legal, and cultural issues associated with an implementation in both U.S. and European settings of a mobile software application for regular psychological monitoring purposes. The tasks required participants to listen, watch, speak, and touch to interact with the smart device, thus assessing cognition, motor skill, and language. Four major findings merit mention: First, moving assessment out of the hands of a trained investigator necessitates excellent usability engineering, such that the tool is easily usable by the participant and the resulting data relevant to the investigator. Second, remote assessment requires that the data are transferred safely back to the investigator, and that risk of compromising participant confidentiality is minimized. Third, frequent data collection over long periods of time is associated with a possibility that participants may choose to withdraw consent for participation thus requiring data retraction. Fourth, data collection and analysis across international borders creates new challenges and new opportunities because of important cultural and language issues that may inform the underlying behavioral constructs of interest. In conclusion, the new technological frameworks provide unprecedented opportunities for remote self-administered behavioral assessments but will be most productive in multidisciplinary teams to ensure the highest level of user satisfaction and data quality, and to guarantee the highest level of data protection.