Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently asked questions about Focus Pocus.
HOW MIGHT FOCUS POCUS HELP?
Research has shown that behaviour can be improved by using techniques to enhance state and cognitive factors. The main reason for this improvement is more efficient and effective impulse-control, working memory and state-regulation ability. Focus Pocus was designed to allow exercise of each of these important areas at one time, in one fun package.
WHAT TYPES OF EXERCISES ARE USED?
Neurofeedback principles are used to exercise attention and relaxation (“state” factors) via awareness and development of control with practice. The MindWave EEG device provides information about the current level of attention (ranging from high to low) with games designed to encourage and reward control. Importantly, the games also promote awareness and control of relaxation (ranging from calm to tense) and the combination of the two – called “Zen” – being focused and calm is the ideal state for learning.
Cognitive training and learning principles are used to exercise impulse-control and working memory, with encouragement and reward for good performance during high levels of attention. This combination is crucial, as processes such as impulse-control and working memory are dependent on the child’s state. A mid-range attention level is the ideal state for performance of many cognitive tasks. Remember all of this is hidden in games that are engaging and fun!
HAS ANY RESEARCH BEEN CONDUCTED WITH FOCUS POCUS?
A published research study, conducted at the University of Wollongong (Johnstone et al., 2010), showed behavioral improvements for children with ADHD after 20-25 training sessions (or about 10-12 hours) of using the cognitive exercises in Focus Pocus. Inattentive, impulsive and hyperactive behaviors were reduced after training.
Similar results have been seen in a larger published research study (Johnstone et al, 2012) incorporating reward for high levels of attention during training for children with ADHD, with behavioral improvements also seen for children who did not have ADHD. Parents reported that their children were better able to follow through on instructions, reading more and without prompting, and behaving more appropriately in the classroom and at home.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE 25 SESSIONS OF TRAINING?
The user moves into the Apply phase, making use of the Challenge and Multiplayer features of Focus Pocus, giving open access to all exercises. As shown below, this phase involves putting the skills learned during training to use, and proceeds at the users own pace.
DOES FOCUS POCUS CLAIM TO PROVIDE THERAPEUTIC BENEFITS?
Focus Pocus is not offered as a therapeutic treatment for ADHD or any other disorder, although the University research results have shown clear improvements. It offers users an opportunity to exercise important psychological processes such as attention, working memory and impulse control, with a view to improve them. These processes underlie behavioral control, and improving them may result in improved behaviour. The software monitors performance and adjusts the level of difficulty accordingly to constantly challenge the user to improve.
ARE THE STATE CONTROL EXERCISES IN FOCUS POCUS SAFE?
Our level of attention and relaxation varies frequently – second by second. The state control exercises in Focus Pocus allow the user to become aware of their current state, and to gain a certain level of control of it over time based on this feedback. The exercises are short duration, and randomly vary between Focus (attention), Relax (relaxation) and Zen (the combination of the attention and relaxation). This variety results in genuine awareness, flexibility and control, rather than just learning a response to a stimulus, making transfer of this new awareness and control easier in day-to-day activities.
It is important to note that there are no known side effects from other similar applications using EEG-based attention/relaxation training – these applications often target a single goal (e.g. “increase attention”) over an extended period of time (say, 10 minutes).
The short duration attention exercises in Focus Pocus are similar to other activities that children engage in daily (e.g. playing video games, doing homework) in the way that they increase attention, and do not place children at any risk. The variety of exercises types (i.e. Focus, Relax and Zen) ensures that children do a mix of attention focussing and relaxing when playing Focus Pocus.
The working memory and impulse control exercises passively monitor Focus in the background and are such are 100% safe.
HOW DOES FOCUS POCUS DIFFER FROM OTHER SIMILAR PRODUCTS?
Focus Pocus is easy to use, with a very high quality interface and research proven hardware, and yet is low cost.
The games are engaging and fun with lots of variety and a unifying theme.
Focus Pocus brings together cognitive and state-regulation exercises in one package, and was designed by PhD qualified experts in the area.
The application can be carried out at home at a time that suits your family.
Daily reports are available, as well as a comprehensive report on achievements and outcomes, and all data is saved. Other packages do not offer this level of reporting on both cognitive and EEG measures.
The EEG headset is easy-to-use and measures EEG from the source (i.e. the brain).