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Science

doppel applies research in psychology and neuroscience

How doppel works

doppel works by creating a silent vibration on the inside of your wrist which feels just like the ‘lub-dub’ of a heartbeat.

Slower rhythms are calming, and faster rhythms help you feel focused - just like music.

Although doppel feels like a heartbeat, your heart rate won’t match doppel’s rhythm. It’s a natural, psychological effect.

doppel applies research in psychology and neuroscience

doppel applies research in psychology and neuroscience which shows how humans respond intuitively and naturally to different rhythms.

Research shows that slower tempos result in calm and positive emotional states while we associate fast rhythms with emotional states such as joy, excitement and surprise.

doppel uses a heartbeat, the most natural rhythm that exists, the one we all experience first as embryos, and it does this silently and subtly. Our brains respond to this rhythm, and we begin to entrain to it - in a similar way to how we respond to music.

But unlike music, doppel’s silent beat is non-distracting, so you can feel calm and focused, anytime and anywhere.

Results showing doppel’s calming effect have been published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Scientific Reports. In the trial, the use of doppel had a tangible and measurable calming effect across both physiological and psychological levels. Only the participants who felt the heartbeat-like vibration displayed lower increases in skin conductance responses and lower anxiety levels.

doppel applies research in psychology and neuroscience

doppel applies research in psychology and neuroscience which shows how humans respond intuitively and naturally to different rhythms.

Research shows that slower tempos result in calm and positive emotional states while we associate fast rhythms with emotional states such as joy, excitement and surprise.

doppel's silent vibration feels just like the ‘lub-dub’ of a heartbeat. doppel's slow setting has been shown to reduce stress, and its faster setting has been shown to increase focus.

Results showing doppel’s calming effect have been published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Scientific Reports. In the trial, the use of doppel had a tangible and measurable calming effect across both physiological and psychological levels. Only the participants who felt the heartbeat-like vibration displayed lower increases in skin conductance responses and lower anxiety levels.

doppel uses a heartbeat, the most natural rhythm that exists, the one we all experience first as embryos, and it does this silently and subtly. Our brains respond to this rhythm, and we begin to entrain to it - in a similar way to how we respond to music.

But unlike music, doppel’s silent beat is non-distracting, so you can feel calm and focused, anytime and anywhere.

Shown to reduce stress

Researchers from the Psychology Department at Royal Holloway, University of London assessed the calming effects of doppel and found that its heartbeat-like vibration delivered onto the inside of the wrist can make the wearer feel less stressed.

The research was published on 24 May 2017 in the the peer-reviewed journal Nature Scientific Reports.

The article Azevedo RT, Bennett N, Bilicki A, Hooper J, Markopoulou F & Tsakiris M (2017) The calming effect of a new wearable device during the anticipation of public speech. Scientific Reports, DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-02274-2 is freely available online at www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-02274-2.

The context

To test the efficacy of doppel, the researchers exposed volunteers to a socially stressful situation and measured their physiological arousal and their reported anxiety levels.

In a controlled, single-blind study, two groups of participants were asked to prepare a public speech - a widely used psychological task that consistently increases stress.

The experiment

All participants wore the device on their wrist and a cover story was used to suggest to participants that the device was measuring blood pressure during the anticipation of the task.

Importantly, for only one of the two groups of participants, the device was turned on and delivered a heartbeat-like vibration at a slower frequency than the participants’ resting heart rate, while they were preparing their speech.

The results

The researchers measured both physiological arousal and subjective reports of anxiety.

The use of doppel had a tangible and measurable calming effect across both physiological and psychological levels. Only the participants who felt the heartbeat-like vibration displayed lower increases in skin conductance responses and lower anxiety levels.

Feel focused

In a psychology lab, Professor Tsakiris from the Psychology Department at Royal Holloway, University of London led an experiment where participants completed a controlled Psychomotor Vigilance Task (a sustained-attention, reaction-timed task that measures the speed with which subjects respond to a visual stimulus). Those wearing doppel set at 100-120bpm committed fewer lapses than the control scenario (wearing doppel switched off), irrespective of whether they performed the test with doppel or the control first. This shows that participants who felt the heartbeat-like vibration were more focused.

Professor Tsakiris published his findings in this White Paper.

Team

The team behind doppel comprises Dr Fotini Markopoulou, Jack Hooper, Andreas Bilicki and Nell Bennett. They met on the Innovation Design Engineering joint MSc/MA course at Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art and have spent the past four years working on technology inspired by psychophysiology - the study of the relationship between the mind and the body.

The team is advised by Professor Manos Tsakiris, Professor of Psychology at the Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London.

Professor Tsakiris’ research focuses on the neurocognitive mechanisms that shape the experience of embodiment and self-identity using a wide range of research methods, from psychometrics and psychophysics to neuroimaging. He is Professor of Psychology at the Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London, where he is also Director of Research. He has published widely in neuroscientific and psychology journals, and his current research projects investigate the plasticity of self- identity and he is leading an ERC Consolidator project. He is the recipient of the 2014 Young Mind and Brain Prize and of the 22nd Experimental Psychology Society Prize (2015). In 2016, he was confirmed as the first recipient of the NOMIS Foundation Distinguished Scientist Award.