[Seminar] Using principles of multisensory integration in the development of targeted interventions, games and entertainment
Significant developments within the past 10 years in creative and health industry have lead to increasing human-machine interaction. However, in this increasingly competitive market, technology designers are faced with the significant challenge of creating a product which not only appeals to the user but also sustains their interest over a long term. This challenge is particularly pertinent to the ageing population, since there is an increasing motivation to replace drug-based therapies with technology-based therapies targeting behavioural and brain changes. However, compliance with therapies, in particular technology-based interventions, is a particular issue for older persons.
In this talk, I will discuss some of the recent findings from my laboratory that may inform the design of targeted interventions through technology. Research into human social neuroscience suggests ways in which interaction with others can be rendered more satisfying and therefore can be sustained for longer. In our first research project we are beginning to provide insight in the multisensory features that determine our preferences for certain characters over others. Our aim here is to apply these features to virtual agents to render them more appealing and effective for use in games, entertainment or health-related interventions. Our second research project involves an investigation of multisensory processing in older adults. Initial findings suggest that simple measures of multisensory function may act as a biomarker for risk of falls in older persons. We are currently developing a targeted intervention programme that combines both sensory integration and balance control in a simple game, which may improve a user's overall postural control. Our findings suggest important ways in which research in human neuroscience can be leveraged in the design of more effective, targeted technologies.
Fiona Newell is a professor of Psychology at the Institute of Neuroscience in Trinity College Dublin. She leads the Multisensory Cognition Group that conducts investigations into perceptual function in humans. The goal of this research is to elucidate the brain and behavioral processes involved in the multisensory perception of objects, faces and scenes. Recently, this research has broadened into applied approaches in the assessment of perceptual function and interventions to prevent perceptual decline with age. Her research group has played a significant role in large international studies and has published in the many of the leading academic journals. Prof. Newell obtained her Ph.D. in 1993 and was subsequently awarded an Addison-Wheeler Fellowship in Life Sciences from the University of Durham, UK. Following post-doc positions in the Weizmann Institute, Israel and Max Planck Institute, Germany, in 2000 she joined the School of Psychology at Trinity College Dublin. In 2006 she became a Fellow of Trinity College Dublin, and in 2008 a Professor of Psychology.