Developing and evaluating a Musical Attention Control Training computer game application
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Recently, Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT) has been a prominent intervention for alleviating cognitive impairment symptoms. Specifically, Musical Attention Control Training (MACT) has been shown to alleviate attention control problems of participants, such as Parkinson’s Disease (PD) patients. However, regularly attending MACT sessions can be challenging, which is further exacerbated by the current global pandemic. The question arises as to how the benefits of MACT can be more easily accessible. Serious games have proven to be a successful intervention for cognitive impairments. However, to this day, there is no serious game that is based on NMT. In this study, a novel approach was followed to research the plausibility of and develop a serious game that emulates an MACT session and is tailored to the needs of PD patients. Afterwards, an experiment was conducted to gauge the game intervention’s efficacy in attention control training. Participants (n=13) were asked to play the game for three weeks and complete a questionnaire and three attention tests before and after the play sessions. Gameplay, questionnaire and attention test data were collected and analyzed in order to draw conclusions about the game’s efficacy. Results indicate a positive trend in sustained and selective attention among participants. These results show that gamified MACT could be a promising supplement to conventional MACT for improving the quality of life of attention-impaired patients.