Our guiding philosophy is that the clinician should be free to focus on the client rather than the computer. Simply pressing 1 or 2 keys will change a display, scale, threshold, filter, smoothing, or sound. Changes are immediate without discontinuity of feedback. Menus are only used in selecting major configurations. Selections are intuitive and avoid cryptic technical terminology. A status display at the bottom of the computer screen keeps the therapist informed of session time and system settings. The status display is unobtrusive to the client.
Users report being comfortable with the equipment after an hour's practice. As the need arises it is easy to learn to use the more advanced features of the F1000.
The client must understand the feedback if we are to have effective training.
In fact the client must connect with the feedback. Psychophysiological learning involves an inner connection. The process is much like learning to balance a bicycle. This is the most important part of the feedback loop. Accurate, artifact free physiological information is of little value if the client cannot understand its meaning.
Traveling line graphs (polygraphs) are one example of poor feedback. The client is expected to dynamically follow a line (or lines) being drawn on a graph. Feedback required for learning is totally conveyed by a single small dot which is drawing the graph. All other information on the screen is past history. When the reading exceeds the range of the graph, the graph is re-scaled. On reaching the end of the time scale, the graph is restarted or moved left on the screen. Discontinuity of feedback and the need to study each change is distracting and interferes with learning.
Another currently popular approach is the use of pictures or diagrams such as a heart, blood vessel, or muscle to portray the underlying physiology of the response. While a physiological diagram is certainly much more intuitive than the line graph, this approach lacks the ability to show small changes. For instance, temperature can range over 5-10 degrees during a session, while short term changes of hundredths of degrees are significant. A system using graphic diagrams must either sacrifice resolution of small changes or resize the symbol each time it becomes too large or small. Abrupt changes such as this are confusing to the client.
The F1000 approaches the feedback issue from a humanistic perspective. For each display we consider the characteristic of the modality. Is high resolution important? Does the data have a wide range of values during a session? How rapidly do changes happen? Are changes relatively continuous or do they take place in epochs? And most importantly, how do these relate to the client's experience of the feedback?
The F1000 feedback displays are simple and unique for each modality. Each is chosen to present information in a visually pleasing way without compromising accuracy or resolution. Components of each display are visually grouped together on the screen. Information is in the familiar form of digits, linear bar graphs, and circles. Changes can be made in displays, ranges, etc without interrupting the continuity of feedback. Sound is integrated with each display and gives a feeling of belonging to the modality. Feedback has a feeling of being immediate, smooth, and responsive.
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