Scientists use innovative iPhone app to carry out research

Royal Holloway, University of London has joined an international team of researchers to develop a new way of conducting psychological and social research.

Instead of bringing people into laboratories the team has launched an iPhone / iPad app that people can download for free in English, French and Dutch.

The app, called the "Science XL: Test your word power", adapts a classic behavioural psychology experiment for iPhone or iPad use. The user can test his or her word power by deciding whether each word presented is a real word or a non-word. The application measures accuracy and importantly the time taken to make such decisions, i.e reaction time.

The world-wide results obtained will help researchers to advance their understanding of how the brain recognises words and could ultimately help in understanding disorders such as dyslexia. They are aiming to get data from 50,000 individuals for each of the three languages they are studying.

Professor Rastle, from the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway, is the UK member of the research team. She says: “Using the iPhone or iPad to conduct scientific research is a revolutionary new concept.  It could change the way that human social and psychological research is conducted because it allows us to access vast numbers of individuals from a range of demographics relatively inexpensively.”

The app is free to download from iTunes AppStore (search for "Science XL") and is non-profit making.

For information on how to get involved visit: