Music-based respiratory biofeedback in visually-demanding tasks

Bhandari, Rhushabh and Parnandi, Avinash and Shipp, Eva and Ahmed, Beena and Gutierrez-Osuna, Ricardo

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

Biofeedback tools generally use visualizations to display physiological information to the user. As such, these tools are incompatible with visually demanding tasks such as driving. While auditory or haptic biofeedback may be used in these cases, the additional sensory channels can increase workload or act as a nuisance to the user. A number of studies, however, have shown that music can improve mood and concentration, while also reduce aggression and boredom. Here, we propose an intervention that combines the benefits of biofeedback and music to help users regulate their stress response while performing a visual task (driving a car simulator). Our approach encourages slow breathing by adjusting the quality of the music in response to the user’s breathing rate. We evaluate the intervention on a 2\times2 design with music and auditory biofeedback as independent variables. Our results indicate that our music-biofeedback intervention leads to lower arousal (reduced electrodermal activity and increased heart rate variability) than music alone, auditory biofeedback alone and a control condition.