Maintaining the attention and focus of patients with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a concern of many rehabilitation clinics that work with this population. The novel use of interactive video games to combat the problem of requiring attention to improve attention was utilized in the present study. It has been noted in several studies that video games can have a positive effect on one's focus and attention. The use of games such as Rockband and Guitar Hero have been observed to maintain the focus and attention of patients with TBI for prolonged periods of time. Additionally group environments have been observed to enhance the performance and focus of patients with TBI. Positive group environments are used often in clinics as a means of improving cognitive functioning. Patients with TBI and a control group (undergraduates of SUNY Plattsburgh) engaged in two one-hour sessions one month apart. During these sessions participants performed the task of playing Guitar Hero and completing the Trail Making Test (TMT), Symbols Digit Modalities Test (SDMT), and Paced Auditory Serial Assessment Test (PASAT). Each participant completed one session in the presence of a positive social environment and one control session (only an experimenter was present). A positive social environment was induced by utilizing positive feedback from trained confederates. Results provide evidence disfavoring the use of interactive video as a means of attention therapy. In contrast there is evidence to suggest that a positive social environment is a significant form of attention therapy.
Published in SUNY Plattsburgh's Scientia Discipulorum Journal of Undergraduate Research. Volume 5, issue 1, pages 12-24. 2011.