ACTrain: A personalised companion for enhancing executive functions based on adaptive meta-cognitive feedback

cyvy Research Project

Many students struggle to stay focused long enough to learn effectively, and social media has exacerbated the problem. Constant distractions at work have led to losses in productivity, which cost the economy billions. These serious issues not only have a negative implications for the lives of individual people, but also for society as a whole.

 

In this project, Dr. Falk Lieder and Jun.-Prof. Dr. Maria Wirzberger will address the challenge of staying focused in the face of distractions by developing a brain training app called ACTrain together with their project team. ACTrain will be a personal assistant with a name and a customized appearance that will train people to stay focused on a task and effectively resume it after getting distracted. Unlike conventional brain training apps, ACTrain will allow people to train while they are working or studying, thereby turning their daily lives into a gym for the mind. ACTrain can thus be used in many different contexts, including education and the workplace.

 

The heart of ACTrain is an intelligent feedback mechanism based on computational models of how attention control skills are learned. Based on these models, the application gives people feedback when they get distracted. The feedback communicates the benefits of regaining focus for their productivity and success. In both online courses and the workplace, this software could improve the lives of millions of students and working professionals.