iPad Experiments

Apps for performing research

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PathSpan Icon


A version of the Corsi Blocks psychological test for the iPad®.

Pathspan is a fully configurable, iPad version of a popular visual-spatial memory test. It has been field tested with young children by researchers at Carleton University and can also be used with adults.

Features - Why you should use it

Info Collection

PathSpan collects ands stores important data about the participant with their performance data. Before beginning a session you can enter information such as birth date, gender and a unique ID.

Data Saving

All data is recorded by the app and output in CSV format. This makes it easy to analyze in Excel, SPSS or any other data analysis program. The format is specifically designed to be easily to analyze in statistical analysis programs like SPSS.

All configuration files are also in text format for ease of editing. The data files can be retrieved from the iPad via iTunes.

Proven Defaults

PathSpan comes with default configurations for sequences and button layout used by the “Count Me In” longitudinal study. The iPad app and defaults have also been used in a study by researchers at Carleton University.

Well Documented

PathSpan has extensive documentation both on how to use the app and how to customize it.

Visit the Documentation »

The Corsi Block-Tapping Test

A popular visual-spatial memory test.


Visual-Spatial Memory Span Test for All Ages

The Corsi Block Tapping Test (Berch, Krikorian, & Huha, 1998) has become fairly popular as a visual-spatial measure of short-term memory span. It may also used as an index of working memory ability. There are many computerized versions of the Corsi Test for adults that rely on using the mouse. The PathSpan app version of the test is designed for use by elementary school children, pre-kindergarten children and adults.

How does the test work?

A PathSpan session for a participant displays trials in which a sequence of lighted buttons is displayed for the participant to ‘play back’ by touching the buttons in the same order. Similar to the game “Simon”.

In the default PathSpan configuration, 3 trials are played for each length of sequence. The session continues with increasing lengths until the participant gets all three trials at a particular length incorrect.

There are also versions with 2 trials per length and reverse versions too.

Proven Design for Elementary-Age Children and Adults

In the Count Me In study, over 500 children used a laptop version of this test as a measure of visual-spatial working memory. The laptop test was developed by Count Me In team member Lisa Fast, co-producer of PathSpan. The pattern sequences and button positions from that test are built into the PathSpan app as defaults. The test is described in the Methods section of the Child Development paper below from the Count Me In study (LeFevre, J. et al., 2010).

iPad Version Field-Tested with Pre-Kindergarten Children

The PathSpan app was field-tested in a study of young children in daycare settings in October-November 2011. Experimenters in the study reported that the children enjoyed using the iPad and had no trouble touching the buttons. The design was modified during pilot testing to meet the needs of both the young children and the experimenters.

Configurability - All the things you can change

You Can Change Everything.

Almost every part of the app can be configured using text and CSV files accessed via iTunes. This means that you can also work on configuration data without access to the app. This also allows you to use the same configuration on multiple iPads.

Because of this, PathSpan can be adapted to fit any situation in which a Corsi Blocks test is required.

Configurable Aspects:

  • Button Layout
  • Sequences
    • Two default sequences are available:
    • 3 sequences per sequence-length group, stop the session if all 3 trials are incorrect - suitable for all ages
    • Count Me In sequences with 2 sequences per length, stop if both sequences are incorrect - recommended for ages 5 and up
  • Button Images
    • The app comes with circular green buttons and some fun frog buttons. - You can use any alternative button image you want by uploading the image file to the app in iTunes.
  • Instructions and prompts
    • All text that the participant sees can be altered in the configuration files.
    • This is useful for if you want to use the app with participants that speak a different language.
    • Note: screens intended for the experimenter, some of the text is translatable.
  • Flash times and delays
    • Default is lighting up a path button for 1 second at 1 second intervals

Screenshots Because a picture is worth 1000 words

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Video Because a video is worth 32 pictures per second

© Tristan Hume and Steve Hume 2014.