East meets west: a mobile brain-computer system that helps children living in poverty learn to self-regulate
- 275 Downloads
Children living in poverty often suffer multiple forms of trauma, which impedes their ability to effectively self-regulate negative emotions, such as anxiety, and to focus their attention. As a result, many of these children struggle at school. Our work explores the effectiveness of using a mindfulness-oriented, neurofeedback-based, brain-computer system to help teach children living in poverty to self-regulate anxiety and attention. Our system, called Mind-Full, was specifically designed for illiterate girls who attend an NGO-funded school in Pokhara, Nepal. In this paper, we present the results of a waitlist control field experiment with 21 girls who completed an intervention using the Mind-Full system. Our results indicated that a 6-week Mind-Full intervention was viable and that children were able to transfer self-regulation skills learned using our system into real-world settings and continue to self-regulate successfully after 2 months. We present our findings as a validation of the effectiveness of mobile neurofeedback-based interventions to help young children living in poverty develop self-regulation skills. We conclude with a discussion of the results, methodological challenges of working in the developing world, and advice for future investigations of the effectiveness of neurofeedback applications for children.
KeywordsBrain-computer interfaces Neurofeedback Self-regulation Children Games for learning Developing countries Field evaluation
We appreciate the support of the Nepal House Society (Canada). Special thanks to Basante, Shiva, Laxmi, and Buddhi at the Nepal House Kaski for taking a risk and for all their time. Thanks to Shiva for motorcycle rides to the Tibetan Refugee camp when we needed a break. Thanks also to the Nepal House Kaski teachers, and to Dr. Patrice Keats and Dr. Vicky Hannam for helping assess the children. Special appreciation to Levi Antle for motivating me to learn how to design interactive technologies to support self-regulation and for coming to Nepal and to Kate Antle for technical and media support especially her ingenuity with video cameras and shoelaces. Thanks to Perry Tan for 3 a.m. Skype calls for technical troubleshooting. And most of all thanks to 23 young Nepali girls for trying something so very different from their everyday lives.
This research was supported by grants from the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the GRAND Network Centre of Excellence (Canada), and Microsoft Research.
- 2.Antle AN, Chesick L, Levisohn A, Sridharan SK, Tan P (2015) Using neurofeedback to teach self-regulation to children living in poverty, in: Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children, IDC ‘15. ACM, New York, pp 119–128. https://doi.org/10.1145/2771839.2771852 Google Scholar
- 6.Blankertz B, Tangermann M, Vidaurre C, Fazli S, Sannelli C, Haufe S, Maeder C, Ramsey L, Sturm I, Curio G, Müller K-R (2010) The Berlin brain-computer interface: non-medical uses of BCI technology. Front Neurosci 4. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2010.00198
- 7.Child Welfare Information Gateway (2015) Understanding the effects of maltreatment on brain development, issue briefs.Google Scholar
- 8.Creswell JW (2006) Qualitative inquiry and research design: choosing among five approaches, 2nd ed. Sage Publications, IncGoogle Scholar
- 10.Gevensleben H, Holl B, Albrecht B, Vogel C, Schlamp D, Kratz O, Studer P, Rothenberger A, Moll GH, Heinrich H (2009) Is neurofeedback an efficacious treatment for ADHD? A randomised controlled clinical trial. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 50:780–789. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7610.2008.02033.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 12.Glewwe P, Kremer M (2006) Chapter 16 Schools, teachers, and education outcomes in developing countries. In: Hanushek E, Welch F (eds), Handbook of the economics of education. Elsevier, p 945–1017Google Scholar
- 15.Guger C, Edlinger G, Krausz G (2011) Hardware/software components and applications of BCIs. Recent Adv Brain-Comput Interface Syst 1–24Google Scholar
- 19.Huang J, Yu C, Wang Y, Zhao Y, Liu S, Mo C, Liu J, Zhang L, Shi Y (2014) FOCUS: enhancing children’s engagement in reading by using contextual BCI training sessions, in: Proceedings of the 32Nd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI ‘14. ACM, New York, pp 1905–1908. https://doi.org/10.1145/2556288.2557339 Google Scholar
- 23.Knox M, Lentini J, Cummings TS, McGrady A, Whearty K, Sancrant L (2011) Game-based biofeedback for paediatric anxiety and depression. Ment Health Fam Med 8:195Google Scholar
- 29.Lubar JF, Shouse MN (1976) EEG and behavioral changes in a hyperkinetic child concurrent with training of the sensorimotor rhythm (SMR). Biofeedback and Self-Regulation 1(3):293–306Google Scholar
- 30.Mandryk RL, Dielschneider S, Kalyn MR, Bertram CP, Gaetz M, Doucette A, Taylor BA, Orr AP, Keiver K (2013) Games as neurofeedback training for children with FASD, in: Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children, IDC ‘13. ACM, New York, pp 165–172. https://doi.org/10.1145/2485760.2485762 Google Scholar
- 31.Nijholt A, Bos DP, Reuderink B (2009) Turning shortcomings into challenges: brain–computer interfaces for games. Entertainment Computing 1(2):85–94Google Scholar
- 32.O'Hara K, Sellen A, Harper R (2011) Embodiment in brain-computer interaction. In: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2011. ACM, New York, pp. 353–362. https://doi.org/10.1145/1978942.1978994
- 33.Rebolledo-Mendez G, Dunwell I, Martínez-Mirón EA, Vargas-Cerdán MD, de Freitas S, Liarokapis F, García-Gaona AR (2009) Assessing NeuroSky’s usability to detect attention levels in an assessment exercise. In: Jacko JA (ed) Human-computer interaction. Lect Notes Comput Sci Springer Berlin Heidelberg, New Trends, pp 149–158Google Scholar
- 37.Simkin DR, Thatcher RW, Lubar J (2014) Quantitative EEG and neurofeedback in children and adolescents: anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, comorbid addiction and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and brain injury. Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin 23:427–464. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chc.2014.03.001 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 40.The Universe Inside Your Head [WWW Document] (n.d.) URL http://www.brainfacts.org/brain-anatomy-and-function/anatomy/2013/the-universe-inside-your-head (accessed 11.19.17)