Oral vs. Touch Interaction for Cognitive Assessment: Acceptance and Perceived Usability by Senior Adults


There is a digital divide between senior adults and the general population because of the disparity in access and usage of digital technologies, including the internet and modern devices, often stemming from factors like age, familiarity, and socioeconomic status. Yet, technology is increasingly penetrating the healthcare sector in areas such as screening, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up. This study focuses on investigating how older adults perceive the introduction of new devices in the screening and diagnosis of cognitive impairment. For this, a perception study was carried out involving 25 senior adults, 16 women and 9 men, aged between 60 and 93 years, living in the Vigo area, Spain. First, the perception and acceptability of popular technological devices were evaluated by means of the technology acceptance model. Then, participants’ perceptions about the use of smart speakers and tablets for cognitive evaluation were analyzed, both before and after interacting with such devices. Finally, the perception of their caregivers about these tools was also studied. These instruments were found to be useful and enjoyable by older adults. More specifically, smart speakers were preferred by participants over traditional tests for detecting cognitive decline. Additionally, there were no significant differences in the perception of utility, ease of use, or enjoyment between tablets and smart speakers. Participants’ caregivers also reported an overall positive perception about the introduction of these new tools for cognitive assessment. In any case, the study provided evidence to support the introduction of both tablets and smart speakers to interact with older adults, and more specifically, as a means to facilitate the early detection and screening of cognitive decline.