Brain, performance and nutrition research centre


Computerised Mental Performance Assessment System (COMPASS)

COMPASS screenshot 1The COMPASS system software was custom designed and programmed to accommodate any experimental situation. Whether we are investigating cognitive function and mood in children, adults, the elderly or pathological groups the system allows enough flexibility to construct appropriate batteries of tasks with suitable stimuli.

Features of the system include:

Design and parallel stimuli

COMPASS screenshot 2A key feature is the ability to configure the system simply at the set up stage for any experimental design. Once the number of visits, assessments per visit and maximum expected number of participants have been entered the system will generate individual random sets of stimuli (for instance faces/names, words or pictures) for each participant at each visit.

You can have as many ‘parallel’ versions of your tasks as you want as long as you have enough stimuli – and, as stimuli sets can be added easily by attaching a simple word or excel file, the permutations are endless. Naturally you only have to set up any experiment once – you simply turn on your computer, select the specific study file and you’re ready to start testing.


COMPASS screenshot 3The battery contains a wide range of standard and novel tasks that measure mood and cognitive performance across domains. Choosing an appropriate set of tasks is simplified by either looking at the full list of tasks or, alternatively, viewing all of the tasks that are thought to assess performance in a specific domain (e.g. ‘working memory’, ‘attention’ or ‘executive function’).

Choosing and ordering tasks involves simply dragging and dropping them in to the ‘task order’ tray. You can then customise selected parameters (e.g. specify the length of a task in seconds, or the number of stimuli presented) and once you’re happy with your selection the system will generate your customised battery. Previous configurations are stored as simple files, so you can recall a previous study design that you want to rerun, or amend any of its parameters.

The COMPASS system is now available for use in academic studies. If you’re interested in obtaining a copy visit the COMPASS website. For informal enquiries contact us at

Brain, Performance and Nutrition Research Centre
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
4th Floor, Northumberland Building
Northumbria University
Newcastle upon Tyne

t: 44 (0) 191 243 7252

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