The daydreamers out there who are struggling to remain focused throughout the day may soon have the ability to snap back to reality.
These scientists work with the ATR Brain Information Communication Research Laboratory Group in Japan and they are here to change the game for all of the absent-minded folks out there. Their latest study on the matter has been published in the Neural Networks journal.
The alarm that they have devised is designed to go off whenever the person is suspected to be in the midst of a daydream. The researchers decided to put this system to the test by using sounds to identify whether the person’s mind had started to wander. The alarm is supposed to help them realize that it is happening and actively attempt to prevent it.
The study took a closer look at 36 people who were all under the age of 60. They were each given a task that required their complete and total focus. Each participant was asked to press a button every time a number flashed on their screens. There was just one caveat, though: They were not supposed to press the button if the number 3 was the one that came up.
Participants were asked to give an update on their mental state every 18 seconds, to see if their minds began to wander at all. From there, the scientists used the information to identify participants’ brain activity when their minds wandered. After that, they had the chance to start the 20-minute task over again and electrodes were used to measure their brain activity this time.
This is how the scientists identified when someone started to lose focus. When the second round began, 20 of the participants were provided with electronic alerts when brain activity indicated that their minds were wandering. 16 participants were exposed to random noises instead. Each group was told that the noises were random and that they could ignore them.
The participants who had alarms based on their brain activity were less prone to having their minds wander than those who were not exposed to sounds when they began to drift. It was a fascinating study and it is well worth taking the time to learn more about.
“Our ultimate goal is to develop neurofeedback training which allows people to manage their mind-wandering in a beneficial manner,” said Dr. Issaku Kawashima, leader of the study, according to the Time Bulletin USA.SKM: below-content placeholder