Brain Explorer app

Why do most mental health problems arise during adolescence? And how is this related to brain development?

Download the Brain Explorer app now and help us to understand how the brain works!

Play fun games to help us understand the brain

Be a space explorer, travel through the universe and help us solve fun puzzles!

Win medals, find your brain strength, and compete with your friends!

multi-lingual

Brain Explorer is available in 5 languages: English, German, Portuguese, Russian, and Danish

research data

In Brain Explorer, we have already collected over 700,000 decisions that help us understand how the brain works.

 

 

world-wide

Brain Explorer has users in over 100 countries world-wide.

 

news-worthy

Brain Explorer has been covered by many prestigious media outlets in the UK, France, USA, and internationally. For more information, see our media section.

 

 

 

Our games are based on the latest insights from brain research. And while you play, you will help our research!

The Games

What do we research?

We are interested how our brains develop during adolescence and throughout our lifetimes. We want to understand why most mental health problems, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), emerge during adolescence. By playing the games on our app, you will help us to understand how different brain mechanisms influence how we think and feel. This will allow us to better understand how brain processes are linked to mental health problems and may help to find new treatments.

How do we analyse your data?

This is a ‘citizen science’ project. This means that everyone can take part and contribute valuable information for our research. We will use statistics, computer models and machine learning to analyse the information from the app and to investigate the brain mechanisms underlying our behaviours. This will allow us to find new and important associations between the brain and mental health.

Who can take part?

Everyone aged 9 years or older is invited to take part! The games are fun for all ages and everyone who plays will help us to understand how the brain works! If you are below 16, then we will ask your parents or guardians to let us know that they are happy for you to play our games.

What will happen with your data?

Privacy is very important to us. Please rest assured that all your data is completely anonymised – which means we do not know who you are and we cannot find out. We will only use your data for research purposes here at University College London. We will not use your data for any commercial purposes. We are only collecting the data you are willing to share with us.
We are not collecting any passive data (such as GPS location or what you do on other apps). You can always opt out from data collection and/or request to delete your data.
However, you will then no longer be able to help us with our research. For all details, please see the Privacy Notice below.

Privacy Notice

Want to know more?

Do you have more questions about our research or the app? Or do you have some feedback for us? Please get in touch! You can contact us via the form below.
You can also find more about our research on our lab website:

Lab website

Want to help more?

Do you want to participate in more of our brain research studies?
Get in touch with us below and we can discuss your involvement in our lab studies.

Participate

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

It can be that the app sometimes gets stuck when you first log in. It may happen that you cannot see the consent form or you cannot move forward when consenting. This is happening if the internet connection is poor. Please simply close and re-open the app, and it should work fine. If the problem persists, please get in touch with us (info [at] brainexplorer.net), and we will help you solve the problem.

You don’t have to do anything actively to upload you data. As long as you have an internet connection, we will receive your anonymous data plays automatically.

However, if you have not consented to sharing your data when you signed up, or if you have withdrawn consent, then we will not receive your data. You can check this under ‘Profile’ > ‘Settings’ > ‘Participate in Experiment’ should be switched ‘on’. You can change this at any time.

As often as you want and enjoy! Every time you play you help us to better understand the brain. If you play each game and questionnaire once, this is already great! If you are up for it, you can play all of them more them once and you can try to beat your current high score. The more often you play the games, the more stars you get and the higher you can move up in the ranks – have you reached the ‘Space Lord’ level yet?

Yes! We have tried to choose colours that are dissociable even for people with colourblindness. However, in some games (esp. Space Observers), this may sometimes be more tricky. We have thus developed algorithms that automatically adjust the difficulty of the task, so that everyone can enjoy the games.

Yes, some aliens may be easier to detect than others. This also depends on the phone type and your screen settings, which makes it difficult to have them exactly the same. However, we use an automatic algorithm that adjusts the difficulty of the game, and which controls for differences in the aliens’ colours.

We are really excited about all the positive feedback that we receive from our users, thank you so much! By playing our games and filling out our questionnaires, you already greatly help us and contribute to our research. If you want to help us further, then please feel free to leave a good rating for our app in the App Store. Moreover, we would be most grateful if you could share our app with your friend and family, and on Facebook, Twitter or other social media. Everybody is welcome to contribute to our research and we greatly appreciate your support!

This depends on the game. In some games, this is simply the number of points you have gathered throughout the entire game. In some games, we assess how well you perform and compare it to how others perform. Please note that some of the games include an element of luck (e.g., the gambling in the Scavenger game). It can thus be that you played perfectly well, but because of bad luck you did not win that many points. Don’t give up – just play it again!

In our questionnaires, we ask you about your feelings, behaviours, and worries. Even though these are standardised scales to capture different aspects of mental health and personality, they are not valid as clinical measures. If you think you may struggle with a specific mental health problem, then please speak to a mental health professional or your general practicioner. They can help you and assess whether you suffer from a mental health illness

We will publish our research findings in peer-reviewed academic journals. This means that other scientists will carefully look at our findings and examine them before they get published in academic magazines. This can take up to several years. Once we have our first findings, we will let you know on this website, on Twitter, and on our lab website. If you follow us, you will be the first to know what we have found out!

There are different ways you can get in touch with us:

  • If you want to provide anonymous feedback about the app, then you can simply use the ‘Feedback’ button in the ‘Profile’ section. We will receive your feedback, but dont know who sent it, so we cannot respond
  • If you want to talk to us directly, then please send us a message either via the contact form below, or via feedback [at] brainexplorer.net. It may take a few days until we will respond.
  • If you like the Brain Explorer app, please leave a rating on the Android Play Store or the Apple App Store. We very much appreciate this.
The Researchers

Developmental Computational Psychiatry Lab

The Developmental Computational Psychiatry lab is based at University College London (UCL). The lab aims to understand why so many psychiatric disorders arise during adolescence, and how this is related to problems with brain development. We combine brain imaging techniques and mathematical models to understand how the brain develops and how it goes awry and lead to mental health problems. The app was developed by Dr Vasilisa Skvortsova and Dr Tobias Hauser.

More info...
The Developers

THKP, LLC

The Brain Explorer app was programmed by THKP, LLC. THKP is a small engineering shop specializing in building mobile and web apps. It comprises Jon Bedard and Matt Keller.

More info...

This work has been made possible by our funders:

Our researchers are based here:

In the Media

Interested what the Media report about Brain Explorer? Read here:

Get in touch

Any questions, feedback, suggestions? Please drop us a line below