Project Details

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Dr Elizabeth Liddle

Project area or title

Sonic biofeedback to promote autonomic and attentional control in ADHD


Attentional Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition affecting control of attention and action. Mounting evidence links these difficulties to impairments in the brain’s oculomotor control network, which forms the backbone of the neurocognitive systems typically impaired in ADHD.

We have been developing an eyetracker-based computer game called RECOGNeyes, designed to improve attentional control by exercising the oculomotor control network. Promising early results include improved attentional control during reading, and changes in oculomotor network brain connectivity.

However, we also found that measures of autonomic activity, such as changes in pupil size and heart rate, were strongly associated with oculomotor performance. This suggests that poor autonomic state-regulation may underlie the variability in attentional tasks that is also a key characteristic of ADHD.

Breath-based meditation techniques like Mindfulness can improve autonomic function, but can be challenging for people with ADHD to implement, and may not readily transfer to autonomic control during attentional tasks.

Together with colleagues in computer science, we have been developing an early prototype biofeedback module for RECOGNeyes that feeds back autonomic signals as natural or musical sounds. The aim is to promote implicit learning autonomic control during attentional training, and to scaffold breath-based mindfulness.

In this project, we will develop this prototype in co-production with people with ADHD, using a workshop interface designed to facilitate hands-on experimentation and collaborative design decisions. The biofeedback module will be designed to allow customisation by the user, allowing the soundscape to reflect their attentional state in a way that they find meaningful.


Children, Young People & Perinatal Mental Health


University of Nottingham

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