Return to the Mathematical Processing Task page
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									MATHEMATICAL PROCESSING TASK
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Script Author: Katja Borchert, Ph.D. (katjab@millisecond.com) for Millisecond Software, LLC
Date: 10-16-2014
last updated:  03-10-2020 by K. Borchert (katjab@millisecond.com) for Millisecond Software, LLC

Script Copyright © 03-10-2020 Millisecond Software

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BACKGROUND INFO 	
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This script implements a Mathematical Processing Task with 3 levels of difficulty similar to the one described by:

UNIFIED TRI-SERVICE COGNITIVE PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT BATTERY (UTC-PAB) I. DESIGN AND SPECIFICATION OF THE BATTERY. 
ENGLUND, C.E., REEVES. D.L., SHINGLEDECKER, C.A., THORNE, D.R., WILSON, K.P., & HEGGE. F.W. (1987).
REPORT NO. 87-10, NAVAL HEALTH RESEARCH CENTER, P 0 BOX 85122, SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA 92138
NAVAL MEDICAL RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT COMMAND, BETHESDA, MARYLAND (p.18)

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TASK DESCRIPTION	
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Participants are asked to categorize the solutions to simple arithmetic problems (e.g. 8 - 3 = ). 
They are asked to press one button (here: <) when the solution is smaller than 5 and another button 
when the solution is greater than 5 (here: >). Participants are asked to solve the problems from left
to right and respond as quickly and accurately as they can.
There are 3 conditions of arithmetic problems that differ in their cognitive demand:
A) low demand: one operator
B) moderate demand: two operators
C) high demand: three operators 

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DURATION 
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the default set-up of the script takes appr. 7 minutes to complete

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DATA FILE INFORMATION 
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The default data stored in the data files are:

(1) Raw data file: 'mathematicalprocessingtask_raw*.iqdat' (a separate file for each participant)

build:								The specific Inquisit version used (the 'build') that was run
computer.platform:					the platform the script was run on (win/mac/ios/android)
date, time, 						date and time script was run 
subject, group, 					with the current subject/groupnumber
script.sessionid:					with the current session id

blockcode, blocknum:				the name and number of the current block (built-in Inquisit variable)
trialcode, trialnum: 				the name and number of the currently recorded trial (built-in Inquisit variable)
										Note: trialnum is a built-in Inquisit variable; it counts all trials run; even those
										that do not store data to the data file such as feedback trials. Thus, trialnum 
										may not reflect the number of main trials run per block. 
										
values.demand:						1 = runs low demand task
									2 = runs moderate demand task
									3 = runs high demand task
									
values.problem:						contains the currently presented math problem
values.solution:					contains the solution to the currently presented math problem

values.resultcategory:				1 = solution < 5; 
									2 = solution > 5
									
response:							the participant's response (scancode of response key)
										31 = S
										34 = G
										0 = no response
										
values.responsecategory:			"smaller"; "greater"; "response failure"

correct:							the correctness of the response (1 = correct; 0 = incorrect)
latency: 							the response latency (in ms)


(2) Summary data file: 'mathematicalprocessingtask_raw_summary*.iqdat' (a separate file for each participant)

computer.platform:					the platform the script was run on (win/mac/ios/android)
script.startdate:					date script was run
script.starttime:					time script was started
script.subjectid:					assigned subject id number
script.groupid:						assigned group id number
script.sessionid:					assigned session id number
script.elapsedtime:					time it took to run script (in ms); measured from onset to offset of script
script.completed:					0 = script was not completed (prematurely aborted); 
									1 = script was completed (all conditions run)

values.demand:						1 = runs low demand task
									2 = runs moderate demand task
									3 = runs high demand task
									
parameters.nr_lowdemandtrainingblocks -
parameters.nr_highdemandtrainingblocks:	sets the number of training blocks for each demand condition
										Note: Typical training times for the tasks are as follows (recommended by: Englund et al, 1987) 
										Low Demand--7 three-minute blocks; 
										Moderate Demand--lO to 14 three-minute blocks
										High Demand--10 to 30 three-minute blocks.

values.count_low:						counts all low demand trials
expressions.propcorrect_low:			proportion correct low demand trials
expressions.propspeederror_low:			proportion speed errors ('response failure') in low demand trials
expressions.propaccerror_low:			proportion accuracy errors ('incorrect') in low demand trials
expressions.meanrt_low:					mean correct latency (in ms) in low demand trials
expressions.sd_low:						standard deviation of correct latencies in low demand trials
(same for moderate and high demand trials)

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EXPERIMENTAL SET-UP 
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3 cognitive demand conditions: low, moderate, high. 
Assignment is done via groupnumber in this script.

Each condition runs for (default) 3 min (editable value).

A) Low cognitive demand: one operator (+, -); presentation time controlled by editable value 
(see section Editable Values) - default: 1500ms

B) Moderate cognitive demand: two operators (+-, -+, --); presentation time controlled by editable value 
(see section Editable Values) - default: 3000ms

C) High cognitive demand: three operators (+--, -+-, ++-); presentation time controlled by editable value 
(see section Editable Values) - default: 4000ms

Training:
By default, participants run through one block of training (3 min) for each demand condition in this script. 
Number of training sessions can be set under Editable Values.
Englund et al (1987) suggest the following:
* Low Demand--7 three-minute blocks; 
* Moderate Demand--lO to 14 three-minute blocks
* High Demand--10 to 30 three-minute blocks.
Training trials are 15s (default) long and provide feedback (red X) if the response is incorrect.

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STIMULI
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All problems are randomly generated right before presentation. 
Several constraints are placed on problem generation (Englund et al, 1987: A-F)
A) only digits 1-9
B) 0 < solution < 10
C) solution cannot be 5
D) roughly half the solutions < 5 (because the task is time-limited and not trial limited
there may be a slight frequency imbalance. The script is set up in such a way, 
that after every 10 trials, the frequencies should equal)
E) digits can only repeat if they are preceded by the same operator (e.g. 8 - 2 - 2 = )
F) when problems are solved from left to right: intermediate and cumulative solutions must be greater than 0
G) no repeats of immediately preceding problems

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INSTRUCTIONS 
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Instructions are not original to the task. They are provided by Millisecond Software
as htm/html pages and simple page elements and can be edited either by changing
the provided htm/html files or directly under Editable Instructions.
To edit htm/html-files: open the respective documents in simple Text Editors such as TextEdit (Mac)
or Notepad (Windows).

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EDITABLE CODE 
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check below for (relatively) easily editable parameters, stimuli, instructions etc. 
Keep in mind that you can use this script as a template and therefore always "mess" with the entire code 
to further customize your experiment.

The parameters you can change are:


Responsekeys:
/responsekey_lower:						the response key for problems < 5 (default: "S"); left response key
/responsekey_upper:						the response key for problems > 5 (default: "G"); right response key

										Note: the response key for 'problems < 5' will be presented as the left
										response key on touchscreen devices; thus it is recommended to use
										a key for 'problems < 5' that appears to the left of the response key for 'problems > 5'
										on the keyboard as well.

/fontsize_problem:						fontsize of the targets in screen height percentages (default: 10%)

/blockduration:							the maximum task duration in ms (default: 180000)
/trainingtrialduration:					the maximum time allotted for demand trials of any kind during training blocks
/lowdemandduration:						the maximum time allotted for low demand trials in ms (default: 1500)
/moderatedemandduration:				the maximum time allotted for moderate demand trials in ms (default: 3000)
/highdemandduration:					the maximum time allotted for high demand trials in ms (default: 4000)

/nr_lowdemandtrainingblocks -
/nr_highdemandtrainingblocks:			sets the number of training blocks for each demand condition (default: 1)
										Note: Typical training times for the tasks are as follows (recommended by: Englund et al, 1987) 
													Low Demand--7 three-minute blocks; 
													Moderate Demand--lO to 14 three-minute blocks
													High Demand--10 to 30 three-minute blocks.