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Title: The development of a multimodal neuroadaptive gaming technology to distract from painful experiences
Author: Stamp, K.
Awarding Body: Liverpool John Moores University
Current Institution: Liverpool John Moores University
Date of Award: 2021
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Painful experiences can be mitigated by distraction techniques such as video game distraction, due to limited available attentional resources. There are many benefits to using video games as a non-pharmacological intervention, including their cost-effectiveness and absence of side effects or withdrawal symptoms. However, video games cannot provide a distraction which is sufficient for pain management if they are not engaging. This work aims to discuss how and why video games capture attention and explore how modulating game factors can affect the response to pain. The aim of this work in its entirety is to develop a neuroadaptive game which is tailored to reorient attention away from a painful experience, and towards the distraction technique. The neuroadaptive element of this technology will enable a balance of challenge and skill which make a unique and playable game for each participant. The development of the neuroadaptive game was supported by two studies. Study One focused on the determination of optimal game difficulty level for pain distraction, and Study Two furthered this research, alongside determining optimal neurological sites for the monitoring of attention and attentional reorientation. Study 3 explored the use of a neuroadaptive gaming technology to distract from pain – a bespoke, real-time data processing pipeline was developed for this purpose. The limitations of the neuroadaptive game are discussed in detail with considerations for future work and development. The results of the three studies carried out during the course of this work indicate that real-time pre-processing and classification of fNIRS data to a good standard is possible. The studies also revealed that the montage for data collection and features used for data collection are crucial considerations for classification accuracy. This thesis also has implications for further work into neuroadaptive technologies and how these systems can be tested and verified. Statistical significance between a non-neuroadaptive game and a neuroadaptive game was not found throughout the course of this work, although the potential explanations and future considerations are discussed in detail. Overall, we were able to confirm that pain tolerance can be improved with the use of a distraction task, but that the balance of task difficulty and skill level is delicate and requires further exploration.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science ; RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry ; RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology