Marvin Andujar Awarded $80,205 NSF EAGER award


CSE Assistant Professor Marvin Andujar received the NSF EAGER award for his research project titled "EAGER: Immersive Brain Painting for College Students with ADHD" which aims to "explore to what extent ADHD students' attention retention can be improved through creating paintings with a Brain-Computer Interface (BCI)."

Each year many students diagnosed with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorders (ADHD) enroll in universities to pursue a degree; overall, it is estimated that up to 8% of college students with known disabilities are diagnosed with ADHD, while there are of course many more who are not formally diagnosed and for whom ADHD is a hidden disability. As a concrete example, the awardee institution currently has approximately 1,500 students with known disabilities of whom 342 are ADHD. Typically, these students are expected to perform at the same level as those with a high attention span; curricula and lectures are not designed with ADHD students in mind. So, while ADHD students may spend more time studying outside the classroom to compensate, they often fail to notice their attention has drifted until precious time has been wasted. Currently, there is no immersive neurophysiological tool to help improve attention retention and reduce mind wandering. If successful, project outcomes will have broad impact by paving the way to a better and more successful life for students with poor attention spans, whether or not diagnosed with ADHD.

The research will establish a comprehensive and empirical method of investigating the effects of painting with the brain using a P300 stimulus to improve attention retention. Subjects will need to focus on a stimulus on a computer screen to create their desired image, which will require a lot of concentration to complete the task accurately and in a short amount of time. This skill once acquired could transfer to other situations requiring prolonged attention, thereby helping the students perform more successfully in school.