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A Mindfulness-Based Brain-Computer Interface Augmenting Mandala Coloring for Depression: Protocol for a Single-Case Experimental Design

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Article numbere20819
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>18/01/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>JMIR Research Protocols
Issue number1
Number of pages13
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Background: The regular practice of mindfulness has been shown to provide benefits for mental wellbeing and to prevent depression relapse. Technology mediated interventions can facilitate the uptake and sustained practice of mindfulness, yet the evaluation of interactive systems such as brain-computer interfaces has been little explored.

Objective: The objective of this paper is to present an interactive mindfulness-based technology to improve mental wellbeing in people who have suffered from depression. The system, Anima, is a brain-computer interface that augments mandala coloring by providing a generative color palette based on the unfolding mindfulness states during the practice. In addition, the paper outlines a multiple-baseline, single-case experimental design methodology to evaluate training effectiveness.

Methods: Adult participants who have suffered from depression in the past, have finished treatment within the last year, and can provide informed consent will be available to be recruited. The Anima system, consisting of two tablets and a non-intrusive mental activity headband, will be delivered to participants to use for the study. Measures include mindfulness state and trait, depression symptoms, mental wellbeing, and user experience and will be taken throughout the baseline, intervention, and monitoring phases. The data collection will take place in the form of a questionnaire pre and post each mandala coloring session, and a semi-structured interview every two weeks. Trial results will be analyzed using structured visual analysis, supplemented with statistical analysis appropriate to single-case methodology.

Results: Study results will offer new insights into the deployment and evaluation of novel interactive brain-computer interfaces for mindfulness training in the context of mental health. Moreover, findings will validate the effectiveness of this training protocol to improve the mental wellbeing of people who have suffered from depression. Participants will be recruited locally through the National Health Services.

Conclusions: Evidence will assist in the design and evaluation of brain-computer interfaces and mindfulness technologies for mental wellbeing, and its necessary services to support people who have suffered from depression.