Dr David Rabiner, Research Professor at Duke University, USA is a world recognised expert on attention and ADHD.
He has developed a new approach to attention training called Nervanix Insight. It uses neurofeedback (also known as EEG Biofeedback) to monitor and train attention skills.
According to scientific research, neurofeedback is the nonmedical approach for developing attention skills that has the strongest evidence for its effectiveness.
Traditional neurofeedback approaches generally use game-like activities that don’t have much resemblance to academic tasks that students need to focus on.
Unlike these traditional interventions, Nervanix Insight provides EEG-based attention training during the same kinds of activities that students engage in at school or while doing homework, i.e., while they are reading or doing other computer-based work activities.
Because the training occurs with regular school or work activities, the transfer of training benefits to tasks that really matter may be enhanced, says Dr Rabiner.
How do you use Nervanix Insight?
You use a simple lightweight wireless EEG (brain wave) headset and an android tablet, then open an E-reader app such as Kindle. As you read, Insight monitors EEG indicators of attention and provides feedback by adjusting the screen's brightness.
When you are focused, the screen brightens. When you lose focus and your mind wanders, the screen dims. You thus receive continual feedback on your attention level as you read or do other work by ongoing changes in screen brightness.
Although changes in screen brightness are initially distracting, users quickly adjust to this and becomes engaged in the challenge of trying to keep the screen bright by remaining focused.
Sessions can be paused and resumed as needed and Nervanix Insight is easily used with any application the user prefers. Thus, anything you use your tablet for becomes an opportunity to practice and develop attention skills.
At the end of each session, you see your average attention score and how your attention fluctuated over time. These results are plotted to track improvements in attention with continued training.
Three different training modes
1. Feedback mode
The screen brightness changes continuously in response to changes in the user’s attention. This provides the most intensive attention training.
2. Alert mode
The screen remains fully illuminated until the user's attention drops below a level set at the start of the session. When attention drops below this, the user is alerted by the screen dimming.
3. Monitor mode
Provides no feedback but simply monitors the user’s attention level and displays the results after the session. This helps track whether any gains that occurred during training are maintained.
Not an ADHD treatment
Dr Rabiner cautions that Nervanix Insight is not a treatment for ADHD. Rather it’s an easy method for practicing and developing attention skills during academically relevant tasks.
Nervanix Insight is a potentially powerful learning tool, says Dr Rabiner. “Over time, you should feel more attuned to when you are focused and when your mind is wandering, and find that maintaining more consistent focus becomes easier.”