Researchers at Cambridge University have developed a brain training app that helps users improve their concentration and attention skills.
While screens have taken a prominent place in our lives, often at the expense of our cognitive abilities, how can we focus and focus again? Researchers at the University of Cambridge's Behavioral and Clinical Neuroscience Institute may have found the solution.
In an article published in the journal Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, professors Barbara Sahakian and George Savulich claim to have developed an app like no other. Unlike other apps like e-mail and social networks that reduce our attention span, the Decoder app helps users improve their focus.
"We've all felt the feeling of coming home from work feeling like we've been busy all day, but we do not know what we really did," says Dr. Sahakian of the Department of Psychiatry. "Most of us spend their time answering e-mails, watching their text messages, exploring social networks, in short, trying to do many things at once, but instead of doing a lot of things, we sometimes difficult to do a single task and we fail to reach our goal of the day, then we go home, and even there, we have trouble turning off, reading a book or watching TV without landing of our smartphones For complex tasks, we must put ourselves in the 'flow' and stay focused. "
A significant improvement in concentration skills
Based on the team's research, the Decoder app has been scientifically evaluated on 75 healthy young adults. Participants were divided into three groups: the first tested Decoder, the second bingo and the third control group did not play any games. Participants in the first two groups were invited to attend eight one-hour sessions. during a month during which they played Decoder or Bingo under supervision.
The 75 participants were tested at the beginning of the trial, and then after four weeks using the Visual Information Rapid Processing (PVR) test from the Cambridge Automated Neuropsychological Test Battery (CANTAB), which allows to detect the abilities of attention and concentration.
The results of the study showed a significant difference in attention measured by the RVP. Those who played Decoder were better than those who played Bingo, but also those who played no game. The difference in performance was significant and comparable, according to researchers, effects observed with stimulants such as nicotine or Ritalin, a common treatment for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
To ensure that the Decoder app improved attention and concentration without sacrificing task switching, the researchers also tested participants' ability through a neuropsychological test called "Trail Making Test". Participants who tested the app all successfully passed it.
Decoder, an already available app
"Many people tell me that they have trouble focusing their attention Decoder should help them improve their ability to do this, and in addition to healthy people, we hope that the game will benefit the deficit patients. of attention, including those who suffer from ADHD or head trauma.We plan to start a study on traumatic brain injury this year, "says Professor Sahakian.
"Many of the brain training applications already on the market are not supported by rigorous scientific evidence, our evidence-based game is interactively developed, and game developer Tom Piercy makes sure that it is attractive and fun to play in. The level of difficulty is adapted to each player and participants enjoy the challenge of cognitive training, "adds Dr. Savulich.
Licensed by Cambridge Enterprise, Decoder is now available on the market thanks to Peak, a developer specializing in brain training applications. The researchers hope to allow Decoder to reach the widest possible audience. The app is now downloadable on the App Store under the name "Peak - Brain Training".