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Brain testing app will help diagnose mental health issues

Don't be afraid when it tells you that you're totally average.
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Savonix is a company that claims to take the "analog processes" of cognitive assessment into the digital age. The firm is launching an iOS and Android app that, for the next six weeks, will let anyone examine their own mental ability. Users will have to undergo a series of tests that test the limits of their ability, from smart thinking through to emotional control. Whereas previously these tests would have been worked out on pen-and-paper under the supervision of a stern looking psychologist, now it's open to anyone. After the open beta closes and all of the kinks have been worked out, the app will become exclusively available to users who license the app through "healthcare organizations."

I put myself forward as a test subject, spending 40 minutes in a quiet room going through the various examinations. If you've ever played Brain Age / Dr. Kawashima's Brain Training on the Nintendo DS, you'll be familiar with the territory here. If you're not, then it's a series of 12 cognition tests, ranging from remembering a list of words to drawing a picture from memory. There are also more advance examinations, such as the Iowa Gambling Task through to spotting someone's perceived emotion from a still image of their face.

The test is reasonably simple to complete and to do so in the comfortable surroundings of your own home helps. The instructions are unthreatening and, on the most part, easy to understand, although a bug in the app robbed me of my practice run for one of the sections. As a tool to make general conclusions in a quick, easy and cheap manner for mental health professionals, it seems like something of a no brainer. Just be warned: if you don't have a psychological condition that needs attention, don't be offended if you get called average.

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