• PIV++: Evaluating a Personalizable, Inconspicuous Vibrotactile (PIV) Breathing Pacer for In-the-Moment Affect Regulation

    We designed and evaluated a personalizable and inconspicuous vibrotactile breathing pacer. We developed the pacer to help people regulate their anxiety. We examined two previously unstudied questions: what is an effective vibrotactile pattern for paced breathing, and where should the tactors be placed on the body to make the pacer most effective? We designed a series of personalized vibrotactile pacing patterns, and evaluated them on three body sites, in terms of self-reported and psychophysiological measures including skin conductance (SC) and breath wave parameters. The results show that personalization plays an important role in PIV’s pattern and placement design choices and we concluded that the choice of frequency based vibration patterns and abdomen placement are appropriate for future studies. Given the prevalence and adverse impact of anxiety, there is considerable interest in using technology to regulate anxiety. Evaluating the efficacy of such technology in terms of both the average effect (the intervention success) and the heterogeneous effect (for whom and in what context the intervention was effective) is of paramount importance. In this paper, we demonstrate the efficacy of PIV, a personalized breathing pacer, in reducing anxiety in the presence of a cognitive stressor. This is the first mixed-design study of a vibrotactile affect regulation technology which accounts for individual differences and user-technology engagement in relation to the technology’s efficacy in the presence of a specific stressor. Guidelines in this paper can be applied for designing and evaluating other affect regulation technologies.

    #Self Regulation