The Pilot Study
Conducted by Dr. Wasifa Jamal with BrainCo Inc.
Neuro® mints and Neuro® gum are a type of nootropic that can boost brain performance.“Energy and Focus” Neuro® mints are formulated to enhance “mental endurance” and maintain focus. The purpose of this experiment was to study effects of consuming Neuro® mints on an individual’s focus level and their performance on cognitive tasks. 20 participants were asked to complete 3 cognitive tasks during control (nomint), Neuro® mints and placebo mint conditions. Results show that after 30 mins of consuming the Neuro® mints users show enhanced performance in processing speed tasks. Their performance on the processing speed task is significantly better when they take the Neuro®mints when compared to their performance without consuming the mint. Results also show that when the users consume the Neuro® mints,they are able to reach high levels of focus (as measured by the BrainCo focus algorithm) much faster than when they do not use any mint or when they consume a placebo mint.
What is Neuro® mints’ effect on the user’s attention ability? Does Neuro® mints increase an individual’s engagement level?
Fig 1. Average performance for all participants as measured by percentage correct responses across different conditions during the Spot the Difference (left) and Stroop Test (center) and time to completion for Schulte’s Table (right).
Given the nature of the task, Schulte’s Table, the outcome measure is the time to complete the task as opposed to percentage correct like the other two tasks. We see (right plot, Fig.1) that on average the participants take less time to complete the Schulte’s tests when they have Neuro® mints when compared to days when they did not have any mint (control) or when they has regular mint (placebo) In order to investigate this observation in the data further we compute the differences between the duration to complete the task in the control condition and mint conditions for each individual (i.e. Control tasktime - Mint/Placebo task time).
Fig 2. The difference between Control task completion time and Neuro and Placebo mint, where * is p<0.05.
We see (figure 2) that on average an individual’s time to complete the Schulte’s test does not differ much between the control (no mint) condition and the Placebo mint condition. However when the same individuals consume Neuro® mints before doing the Schulte’s test,they take significantly less time (shown by the positive difference between control duration and Neuro® mints duration) to complete the task compared to how long they needed during the control task.
Fig 3. Average attention between difference conditions during the Spot the Difference (left) and Stroop Test (center) and Schulte’s Table (right).
Time to High Engagement State (Speed): This indicates the number of seconds participants took to get into a high attention state from the start of the task. Our threshold for high attention state is at 65, thus lower values signify users.
Fig 4. The figure above shows the average time in seconds it took the participants to reach a high engagement level measured by the BrainCo wearable.
We see that consistently the time to reach the high engagement level was always lower in the Neuro® mints condition compared to the control and placebo mint condition. Thus participants are able to focus faster when taking the Neuro® mint.
The participants worked on 3 executive function tests - the Spot the Difference test, Color Stroop test and the Schulte’s test. For the first two tests we use the percentage correct responses to measure the participants performance and use the time to completion (duration) as the performance measure for the Schulte’s test.
- Consuming Neuro® mints significantly improves one’s performance in processing speed tasks.
- Consuming Neuro® mints reduces the time taken to reach high engagement levels.
Fig 6. Correlation between the performance in Schulte’s Table and the individual’s Area under their Attention plot.
In this task a lower time to completion signifies better performance. Figure 6. Shows a positive correlation between performance (duration) and the area under the attention curve of participants when they consumed Neuro® mints. Hence we can conclude that when taking Neuro® mint, the participants were able complete the Schulte’s Table task faster with lower mental energy
Conducted by Dr. Wasifa Jamal,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT),
Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Founded at the Harvard Innovation Lab,
BrainCo Inc. specializes in BMI wearables that help people improve their attention level and working efficiency.