Tracking your brain on booze, Boozerlyzer
cognition | mood & emotion
Caspar Addyman is an experimental psychologist who is interested in what drugs and alcohol do to your brain. In this video, Caspar talks about the Boozerlyzer, which tracks what happens to your brain when you’re drinking. The Boozerlyzer is available in the Adroid store and Caspar explains how to use it.
Google Sheets | phone
Hi, so I’m Caspar and talk to you about the Boozerlyzer, which is the thing for tracking what happens to your brain when you’re drinking. I’m an experimental psychologist, so I’m interested in what drugs and alcohol do to your brain. The basic problem with that is that how many of these did I actually drink. I can’t necessarily remember, and retrospectively I might underestimate for various reasons. So you need to be able to track things as they are actually happening.
I did what any of us would do I would go to an android application and the source code is already available, and it’s available in the App Store if you want it. So now I’ll show you a little bit. What happens in the application, how it works.
This is the front page, and as you see, it’s all very simple visual icons to take you through the different bits of the application depending on how drunk you are, you might not be able to read.
So the first thing is obviously we want you to do is to track what drinks you’ve had, and here you enter of the various types. We will tell you how many units that is and also the number of calories that you’ve consumed that you will have to run off in the morning.
We also want to track how it’s going to affect you, so we track very simply just a happiness score and energy score on your own estimate of how drunk you’re feeling. If you want to give us a more discursive I love you type of information, you can type in here or use the speech recognition on the application, which might not work in a loud bar, but it gives you a little bit more color to the detail.
And now as a psychologist, I also want to be able to track more cognitive aspects. So there is a range of little games built into the application, which will track various cognitive and emotional measures. So show you a couple of those, the first one that has come up here is raccoon hunt. All you have to do here is press the things as fast as they appear. And with that we are recording an reaction time, your coordination and occasionally one will be upside down and we don’t want you to press that. And obviously your inhibition changes quite a lot when you are on alcohol.
This is an numerical Stroop task, the task is just to press the numerically larger number, and sometimes that will conflict with the size information. And again, you have to be sort of cognitively alert to be able to do this.
Then there are tasks which involve emotionally laden words, so some of them are positive and some of them are negative. We have a ranking for all of these, how they are rated generally, and by getting people to respond to a whole range of these we can get a snapshot of how you’re feeling.
This is a range of words for drunkenness, so I want to be able to scientifically quantify just exactly how drunk the word woozy might be or rat arsed I might teach you a few new words along the way.
This looks like my walk home from the pub. This is actually some of the data; the green line is the number of drinks. The pink line is the blood alcohol, so you see that goes down over the course. One of the problems having at the moment is better ways to visualize this data, so that was over the course of one evening. This is over the course of a week or so and as I say this is the first prototype, so we are looking for nicer ways to do that and any suggestions please do come and see me afterwards.
For the geeks in the room, then you can export the data yourself, you know quantify some people and send it out to Google doc no problem. But for my research purposes I want to collect your data as well, so then that is sent securely to our website and the first thing we do is anonymize it. Tricky business I know and I think we are doing it okay. But again, any suggestions people have for their experience in how to anonymize data please let me know.
Well, why are we doing this? First of all just attract how much I’m drinking, but how much anybody is drinking and how it’s affecting them. And, as I’m sure you know being able to track things can change behaviors. So we think that people are interested in drinking are going to be drinking too much.
Importantly, it’s overlooked. Alcohol is a drug and it’s actually widely abused, and probably the most dangerous drug. The international scientific committee on drugs did a survey, and ranked it more dangerous to society than heroin or cocaine. But, the next step for us is to sort of expand this out and to look at other drugs as well.
Forty one new jobs appeared in the EU in 2010, nobody knows anything about them and what they do to you at this point.
So, just to finish off the app is available in the android store at the moment, and it’s obviously free. The source code is available. It is a prototype, but we would like people like you to give us your first impressions of it, and any questions come and find me afterwards.
Thanks very much.