Improve focus with training…MIT Media Labs shows how.

Better attention is possible with exercise…And not just for people who suffer from ADD and ADHD.

No one can be 100% focused every day, all the time. But we can improve focus with training. 

With everything going on in our lives, it’s easy to lose track of things. We make mistakes because we’re not focused on the task at hand. We miss important information because we haven’t been paying attention. And too often, we lose focus because our minds aren’t trained to be engaged at critical moments. 

A recent study by MIT Media Labs is beginning to show that there are solutions. By combining BrainCo’s wearable Focus1 headbands with a special scarf that buzzed when focus levels dropped, the study showed that providing real-time reminders to focus can actually help students feel more engaged with the content they’re viewing and that training can improve their scores on tests from those lectures. 

The study divided participants into three groups. The first wore our headband and the feedback scarf but received no alerts at all. The second got random feedback about focus levels from the scarf throughout the session, but the alerts weren’t related to any mindset data from the headband. The third was given a gentle ‘haptic’ buzz when their focus and attention levels, as reported by our EEG wearable device, dropped below a certain level.

Each group was given a lecture on a complex topic. The study groups sat through various presentations with content that ranged from dry and boring to interesting and exciting (as rated by the lecturer). Across all types of content, the participants who had their attention levels monitored by Focus1 showed higher focus.

But it wasn’t just that their focus levels were higher and more consistent. After the presentations, each participant was given a quiz to measure their retention and understanding of the material. And the results of the haptic training were impressive.

The group that received focus feedback scored more than 30% better than those that received random signals…and more than 40% higher than those that got no reminders to focus!

All three of the researchers’ hypotheses were shown to have merit: 

  • Haptic feedback will increase EEG-based engagement score 
  • Haptic feedback will improve learning performance 
  • Participants will appreciate the haptic feedback when evaluating the system 

Of course, this is just one small study and there’s certainly a lot more to look into. But we at BrainCo are excited that the idea of real-time focus training with FocusNow could have real impacts on students and adults as they try to navigate our confusing, distracting world. 

If you’d like to read the entire study, click here.

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