Measuring Cognitive Abilities in the Wild: Validating a Population-Scale Game-Based Cognitive Assessment

Mads Kock Pedersen, Carlos Mauricio Castaño Díaz, Mario Alejandro Alba-Marrugo, Ali Amidi, Rajiv Vaid Basaiawmoit, Carsten Bergenholtz, Morten H. Christiansen, Miroslav Gajdacz, Ralph Hertwig, Byurakn Ishkhanyan, Kim Klyver, Nicolai Ladegaard, Kim Mathiasen, Christine Parsons, Michael Bang Petersen, Janet Rafner, Anders Ryom Villadsen, Mikkel Wallentin, Jacob Friis Sherson*, Skill Lab players

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde

Publikation: Working paper/Preprint Working paperForskning

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Psychology and the social sciences are undergoing a revolution: It has become increasingly clear that traditional lab-based experiments fail to capture the full range of differences in cognitive abilities and behaviours across the general population. Some progress has been made toward devising measures that can be applied at scale across individuals and populations. What has been missing is a broad battery of validated tasks that can be easily deployed, used across different age ranges and social backgrounds, and employed in practical, clinical, and research contexts. Here, we present Skill Lab, a game-based approach allowing the efficient assessment of a suite of cognitive abilities. Skill Lab has been validated outside the lab in a crowdsourced population-size sample recruited in collaboration with the Danish Broadcast Company (Danmarks Radio, DR). Our game-based measures are five times faster to complete than the equivalent traditional measures and replicate previous findings on the decline of cognitive abilities with age in a large population sample. Furthermore, by combining the game data with an in-game survey, we demonstrate that this unique dataset has implication for key questions in social science, challenging the Jack-of-all-Trades theory of entrepreneurship and provide evidence for risk preference being independent of executive functioning.
Antal sider11
StatusUdgivet - sep. 2020


  • Cognition
  • Game-based
  • citizen science