MoodTune app from BrainTracer lets you play simple games to treat depression

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It was 4 months ago when BrainTracer made their announcement of their new depression fighting app, MoodTune. The app applies neuro-behavioral science in its series of games that simulate a part of brain, Anterior cingulate cortex to normalize it, to reduce the effects of depression. They are only going to make it available for the public, after clinically evaluating it.

ACC_and_PFC

image souce: sutherlandsurvey

I am lucky to be a part of their beta testing, taking a look at MoodTune before it’s officially released. I got my hands on the android version of the app and started testing it as much as I can. Since I am on a mild anti-depressant myself, this app intrigued me.

MoodTune – A look into the App.

When the app starts for the first time, you need to register it, it is one time registration for a device. It remembers your data to maintain your profile on their servers. Every game you play, the data are sent to their servers. You get the data back from the servers for your assessment in the form of mood graphs.

The app has 4 simple games or tasks. These are happy faces, center arrow, green circle and emotional words.

moodtune tasks

Happy faces.

Happy faces is a game in which you have to match facial expression with word inscribed on it, in red color. The facial expression can look happy, sad, confused, scared…The word that appear on it would be happy, sad, fear… You have 2 buttons to tap. If the face matches the word, tap yes, if not tap no.

moodtune happy faces

In the image shown above, you would tap no.

The game has 2 modes, practice and play. Practice would go on about a minute and play is about 30 minutes. It could get boring after a while, but here is where your brain gets to work normalizing the Anterior cingulate cortex. So plan and set your time aside to play this.

This is the only task that requires 30 minutes of play, other 3 tasks ends in about 5 to 10 minutes. There is no way to stop a play when it has begun.

Center arrow.

moodtune center arrow

Next task is center arrow. This is a task where you see arrows. <<<< like this or this >>>> or with a center arrow <<<<><<< You have to tap left or right. <<<<<< would be left and >>>>> right. Now this is where it gets a bit interesting, <<<<><<< is left, but the mind first goes to the center arrow and then it decides. In the broad sense, it looks to me that the mind is being trained to not look at things that aren’t necessary and go ahead with the end goal. Also that this is a logical game that trains the left brain, as left brain is more logical. The Anterior cingulate cortex is also located on the left hemisphere of the brain, there must be some connection.

Green circle.

moodtune green circle

This one gets tricky. It’s not just straight forward yes or no type thing, but with a twist. What you see in this task are red or green, circle or square. The game’s name is green circle, so only if you see a green circle, tap on which side the circle appears. For example, if you see a green circle on the left, tap the left button, if you see it on the right, then tap right. That’s about the green circle. What about the green square or red circle or red square? You need to tap the button on the opposite side of where it appears.

In the image above, you would tap? Yes Left!

What about the image below?

moodtune green circle2

Yes, you would tap left.

I can see, this task works on unnecessary confusing part of the brain associated with depression.

Emotional words.

This is the final task. Here you would see words that carry an emotional meaning or neutral that doesn’t have any deep meanings. But these words have a positive or negative emotion to it. Your goal is to be positive and tap yes if it sounds positive to you, or no if it doesn’t. Depressed is one of the words that you get here. Yes, I tapped no!

Dashboard and mood graph.

You get to the scores and graphs from Dashboard on the home screen. You can take a look at how many games you have played, for how many days you have missed playing, your error rate and responsiveness in seconds.

There are 2 mood graphs, one shows your accuracy in responding correctly, and the other is behavioral independence. The former one gives you a picture of how accurate you are versus your responsiveness. The later graph shows you how responsive you are versus the accuracy. So in the accuracy graph, lower scores denotes high accuracy and in the responsive graph high score is higher responsiveness.

Closing words,

You can set aside your time or play it whenever you want. Except the happy face, you can play the other 3, anytime you want and get the instant gratification heading over to the dashboard. For the happy face, you can play it like once every 2-3 days spending 30 minutes on it. This is overall a fun filled way to recover from depression.

You can get it from the Google play store here. It’s priced at $90.

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