Digital Phenotyping - A Case for Cognitive Functions and Dementia?

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Published Jun 8, 2020
Christian Montag Jon D. Elhai


Background:  The present opinion work provides the reader with a short background on recent advances in the field of Psychoinformatics. Psychoinformatics represents a merger between the disciplines of computer science and psychology, among others to enable researchers to conduct digital phenotyping while exploiting the ubiquitously available digital traces resulting from interaction with the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT describes a totally interconnected world, where everything from the household appliance to the smartphone is linked to each other via the Internet. Objectives: In recent years, much work has been dedicated to the question of which psychological variables, in the realm of socio-demographics and personality, can be predicted from social media platform data and/or smartphones in general. These variables are of interest to be studied, because they have been associated with many important life variables such as longevity, health behavior and job performance. Methods: As research concerning cognition has been comparably less studied in Psychoinformatics, the focus of the present review-work will lie more on ideas regarding how cognitive functions and precisely dementia such as Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) might covary with data from the IoT. Results: It is demonstrated that different sociodemographic and psychological variables including cognitive variables currently can be predicted to different extent via digital footprints. Conclusions: Beyond abundant chances due to applying methods from Psychoinformatics to improve diagnostics and monitoring of AD, limitations of such approaches are also addressed together with relevant thoughts on ethical considerations.

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Montag, C., & Elhai, J. D. . (2020). Digital Phenotyping - A Case for Cognitive Functions and Dementia?. Digital Psychology, 1(1), 44–51.


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digital phenotyping, dementia, Alzheimer, Psychoinformatics, personality, mobile sensing, emotion

Review article