Are you a morning or evening person?

OU Brainwave is a new, research focused, psychology app from The Open University and Reed.

We’ve taken five tasks from the world of psychology research and turned them into games which will measure your cognitive performance and answer whether you are actually a 'morning' or 'evening' person.

Brain scan

OU Brainwave

The Brainwave app contains five quick and fun games which will test a different facet of cognitive ability. By playing the games, you will build up a profile of your performance across the day - your ‘Brainwave’ - by charting your performance you will be able to ascertain whether you perform better in the morning or evening.

The app then anonymises your scores and uploads them to the research team at the OU (Dr Langdridge; Prof Pike; Dr Thirkettle). Here your data is combined with all the other users in order to provide new insights into how the time-of-day affects performance.

You can download the app from the App Store or Google play.

What does the app test?

Super Snap (Working memory)

The task presents participants with a series of images and asks them to respond when the current image in the series is a repeat of the one shown a set number of images ago. This game is a version of a widely used experimental psychology task called ‘The n-back task’ which has been used since 1958. It measures ‘working memory’, which is the ability to keep some information “to hand” mentally.

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Spin (Spatial processing)

Participants must match a target pattern with one of a number of possible answers, one of which is the target pattern simply rotated through a set angle. To succeed participants must mentally rotate the pattern. This psychological task measures spatial rotation and has been fascinating psychologists for decades.

React (Vigilance)

Participants press a button as fast as they can when instructed, and repeat this at random intervals. This is one of the oldest and simplest cognitive psychology tasks – the PVT or persistent vigilance task. It's been used in hundreds of studies, even on-board the international space station. It is an excellent task to measure the effect of time-of-day circadian rhythm on cognitive performance.

Hotspot (Learning)

This task requires the user to guide a ball to within a hidden target zone – the ‘hotspot’. This task focusses on our ability to learn about ways to interact with our environment by exploring it – what we call ‘action acquisition’. This is a fundamental part of human behavior, particularly relevant for skilled motor actions such as sports persons or musicians.

Track (Split attention)

In this task moving, identical dots, some of which must be tracked while they move around. It examines your ability to split your attention and follow multiple objects as they move. This happens quite frequently, for example when driving, and is a great example of how something that we experience as effortless and automatic requires fascinating mental processes.