Measuring psychophysiological parameters as input data for computerized adaptive testing (basic research project)

Drnovšek Janko, Kordeš Urban, Tkalčič Marko, Ogorevc Jaka, Podlesek Anja, Strle Toma, Jaušovec Ksenija, Jaušovec Norbert, Geršak Gregor, Komidar Luka, Bucik Valentin, Sočan Gregor
Funded Organization
University of Ljubljana
Funding Amount
Not available
Project Number
J2-5495 (C)
Original Project Description
8 Jan



31 Jul


Slovenian Research Agency


In psychometrics, which deals with measurement of human psychological characteristics, computerized adaptive testing is frequently used. In this type of testing, the computer selects items according to participant’s responses to previous items, so that the measurement error and uncertainty of test score are minimized. In this procedure, the emotional-motivational aspects of testing are ignored, but they might affect the test performance of individuals. The ultimate goal of our project is to measure physiological responses during testing and, based on these measurements, to determine how the individual experiences the testing situation and to choose an item of appropriate difficulty accordingly. The goal is also to steer the process of the testing in such a way that maximum satisfaction and comfort of the individual during the testing will be achieved. We will investigate whether adaptive testing that adjusts according to the estimate of emotional-motivational state of the participant based on psychophysiological measures, gives comparable estimates of participant’s ability and standard error of estimate as a conventional computerized adaptive testing, and leads to a comparable overall satisfaction of the participant with the testing.The project will first identify the ability to be measured, and a large pool of items will be developed. Their psychometric characteristics will be examined on a large pilot sample according to item-response theory procedures. We will develop a methodology for determining the basic metrological parameters of psychophysiological measurements. Using classical and non-intrusive psychophysiological instrumentation we will yield information about skin conductance, heart rate, blood pressure and respiratory rate during solving specific items, and search for those psychophysiological features and their combinations that will be able to differentiate between the tasks in which the participant is experiencing pleasure (tasks of appropriate difficulty), tasks in which the participant is bored (tasks that are too easy), and tasks in which she/he is experiencing mental stress and discomfort (tasks that are too difficult). Then three experiments will be carried out in which we will compare the ability estimates based on the correctness of task solutions and ability estimates based on psychophysiological measures and the estimate of the emotional-motivational state of the participant during testing. Both types of ability estimates will be compared (i) for a non-adaptive test procedure, (ii) for the conventional computerized adaptive testing, where the next item in a sequence is selected based on participant’s responses, and (iii) the adaptive procedure guided by a recommendation system that selects the next item on the basis of the estimate of participant’s emotional-motivational state derived from the psychophysiological measures. We will also examine whether the individual satisfaction with the test procedure that adapts to the emotional-motivational state is larger than with the testing procedure which adapts according to the participant’s responses.The original contributions of the project will be the following: (i) we will propose a concept of metrological evaluation of psychophysiological measurement devices and (ii) we will include the indicators of the emotional-motivational state of a participant into adaptive psychological testing and evaluate such a new form of adaptive testing.