Skip to main content Skip to main navigation


Digital ink and differentiated subjective ratings for cognitive load measurement in middle childhood

Kristin Altmeyer; Michael Barz; Luisa Lauer; Markus Peschel; Daniel Sonntag; Roland Brünken; Sarah Malone
In: British Journal of Educational Psychology, Page 18, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2023.


Abstract Background New methods are constantly being developed to adapt cognitive load measurement to different contexts. However, research on middle childhood students' cognitive load measurement is rare. Research indicates that the three cognitive load dimensions (intrinsic, extraneous, and germane) can be measured well in adults and teenagers using differentiated subjective rating instruments. Moreover, digital ink recorded by smartpens could serve as an indicator for cognitive load in adults. Aims With the present research, we aimed at investigating the relation between subjective cognitive load ratings, velocity and pressure measures recorded with a smartpen, and performance in standardized sketching tasks in middle childhood students. Sample Thirty-six children (age 7–12) participated at the university's laboratory. Methods The children performed two standardized sketching tasks, each in two versions. The induced intrinsic cognitive load or the extraneous cognitive load was varied between the versions. Digital ink was recorded while the children drew with a smartpen on real paper and after each task, they were asked to report their perceived intrinsic and extraneous cognitive load using a newly developed 5-item scale. Results Results indicated that cognitive load ratings as well as velocity and pressure measures were substantially related to the induced cognitive load and to performance in both sketching tasks. However, cognitive load ratings and smartpen measures were not substantially related. Conclusions Both subjective rating and digital ink hold potential for cognitive load and performance measurement. However, it is questionable whether they measure the exact same constructs.


Weitere Links