Research Spotlight in Educational Studies: Examining the Use of Biofeedback to Improve Attention
The College of Education and Human Services is proud to highlight the work of the research team that originated the PIRATE Project within the Department of Educational Studies. The PIRATE Project stands for Pioneering Interventions Regulating Attention T hrough Electroencephalography (or biofeedback). Seton Hall University Research Council awarded the PIRATE Project a grant to fund a study that uses a form of biofeedback that trains brainwaves, called neurofeedback, to improve attention in individuals with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The PIRATE Project is under the direction of Dr. Jeffry La Marca , an expert in Neurofeedback (NF) and its applications to education.
Neurofeedback (NF) allows individuals to train and control their own brainwaves by playing games on a computer using only their minds. NF research in school settings is seeking new paths for potentially valuable interventions for special educators to use with their students, without the use of psychiatric drugs. While there is a great need for further research, one study that explicitly examined academic achievement in a school setting suggests that NF may improve scores on measures of reading comprehension, as well as on objective measures of attention. This improvement in reading comprehension was greater than what could be attributable to regular classroom instruction ( See study here ).
The PIRATE Project is currently recruiting Seton Hall University students with ADD/ADHD for the Spring Semester to participate in the research study. Study participants will receive an initial assessment on measures of attention, including a screening questionnaire, a rating scale, a computerized test of attention, and an assessment of their brainwaves. Students meeting the study's criteria will receive additional sessions where they will learn how to play computer games operated by their minds using special equipment. At the end of the study, participants will receive an additional assessment of their brainwaves and an assessment of attention. Participants receive monetary compensation for their time and effort. Seton Hall students who wish to be participants should contact Dr. La Marca at: firstname.lastname@example.org
More about the Researchers:
- Dr. Jeffry La Marca , Assistant Professor in Dept. of Educational Studies: In addition to his previous and current research, Dr. La Marca frequently presents at national and international conferences on the potential use of neurofeedback as an intervention to improve student achievement. He gave a presentation (January 2017), "Application of a Biofeedback Strategy to Improve School Performance in Students with Attention Deficits," at the Eighth Annual International Conference on the Health Risks of Youth in Cancun, Mexico and will be presenting a webinar, "Neurofeedback with ADHD Elementary Students to Improve Reading Comprehension," for the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (AAPB) in April. He has also presented at conferences of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), Children & Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder (CHADD), the International Society for Neurofeedback & Research (ISNR), and many others.
- Fabiana Cacciaguerra, M.A./Ed.S. candidate, School and Community
Psychology, Seton Hall University, Class of 2019. Ms. Cacciaguerra's
research interests include beneficial effects of early intervention in
children diagnosed with Autism disorders, and the social and emotional
adjustment of immigrant children.
- Jennifer Fandino, Ed.S. candidate, School and Community Psychology, Seton Hall University, Class of 2018. Ms. Fandino's research interests include increasing the quality of life of children with special needs and their families.
- Austin Guerra, M.A. candidate, Professional Counseling with a focus on Clinical Mental Health - Seton Hall University, Class of 2017. Mr. Guerra's research interests include neurofeedback (quantitative electroencephalography [qEEG] and brain mapping, as well as using biofeedback as a diagnostic measure of ADHD).
- Joseph Fresco, Ed.D. candidate, Higher Education Leadership, Seton
Hall University. He is in his first year of the program and is
interested in studying student-athletes and job placement. His
experience in psychology stems from his studies as a master's student
where he earned a degree in psychological studies with a concentration
in school psychology.