Self-control Assessment Battery
Risk-Eraser has developed an online battery of assessments focused on the capacity for Self-control. Each component of the assessment battery was designed based on well-validated tools within the mind and brain sciences, and is well suited for children as young as 8 years old; the specific age will vary depending on the cognitive and emotional challenges that some children may face. All components of the assessment battery can be used on any browser, and on either PC or Mac. The games require access to a keyboard and either a mouse or trackpad. For those interested in using a tablet, the Puffin browser is possible as it provides access to a digital keyboard and trackpad. Each component of the assessment battery is described below.
iDecisions: This is a short, 15 item survey that assesses three different components of self-control or impulsivity: Attention, Motor, and Non-Planning. The survey represents a modified version of the shortened Barratt Impulsiveness Scale. The questions are largely the same, except for changing a few words to either make the context or meaning more appropriate or comprehensible for children.
My habits: This survey consists of two surveys. The first consists of 9-questions designed to capture habits that are often linked to poor self-control such as eating junk food, missing appointments, skipping school work, and doing risky or unhealthy activities. It is based on the work by Oaten & Cheng who showed, with several pre-post administrations of this survey, that self-control strengthening activities result in lowered levels of these poor habits. The second survey focuses on grit or determination and consists of 8 questions. This survey is based on the extensive work of Angela Duckworth who has focused over many years, with dozens of published studies, on the predictive power of grit in terms of many important life outcomes, including especially educational outcomes.
Color game: This is a test of self-control that focuses on cognitive conflict, specifically the systems of language and color perception. It is based on the well known Stroop task. Individuals see a series of color words printed in different colors (e.g., Red vs Red). The individual's task is to press a button associated with the printed color as fast as possible. For example, if you see the word "red" printed in the color red, you would press the R-key. If you see the word red printed in the color black, you would press the B key. The program automatically calculates the percentage of correct responses as well as reaction time for matched trials (i.e.., word matches print color) and mismatched trials (i.e., word is different from print color). Individuals are likely to make more mistakes on the mismatched trials and show slower responses when contrasted wtih the matched trials.
Animal game: This game is based on Eriksen's flanker task, and focuses on the fact that we are very sensitive to patterns, and tend to respond habitually to them. Thus, if you see a line of left-facing arrows and the middle arrow is also facing left, you are much quicker and more accurate to point out the direction of this middle arrow than when it faces right. In the animal game, individuals see a group of animals, and must use the arrow keys to indicate the direction of the animal located in the middle. The program automatically calculates accuracy and reaction time for same- and different-oriented animals located in the middle.
Balloon Analogue Risk Task: This task is based on Lejuez's game in which individuals have the opportunity to pump air into a balloon for money. More pumps equals more money, but balloons pop unexpectedly if you put in too much air; if the balloon pops you lose all the money earned on this balloon. Since you only have a set number of balloons, you need to decide how many pumps to risk. Thus, risk-averse individuals will pump a few times and cash in, whereas risk-prone individuals will pump much more in order to maximize returns.