Empatica watch and app interface- measuring physiological processes that indicate arousal and activity levels. 

Empatica watch and app interface- measuring physiological processes that indicate arousal and activity levels. 

Arts and dementias: measuring the moment

Measuring the response to visual arts programmes and activities is complex. They evoke so many different cognitive responses that it is difficult to know which measurement tools to use. Many of the methods currently used to evaluate art programmes require further development and validation. We will critically review current approaches to capturing the impact of, and responses to arts activities, and compare these approaches with those used by Created Out of Mind. This will enable us to assess the relative value of each approach.

Project lead: Gill Windle


Arts and dementias: measuring the response

We will be conducting a literature review of previous studies measuring physiological responses to arts appreciation or participation, in people with and without dementia in order to inform the design of our arts projects.

Project lead: George Thomas


Music for life 360

Building on Wigmore Hall's Music for Life programme, we will apply technology and machine learning approaches to examine the interaction between a musician, carer and a person with dementia. Machine Learning is the development of computer programs that can learn and adapt when given new data. By applying this to slowed-down videos of Music for Life group sessions, we can develop programs that can measure participant responses during a session.  We will also identify correlations between musician and participant behaviours, one of which being their motivation to be involved in the session.

In parallel, we will explore how people from 3 different professions- neuropsychology, music and care- view the same session in order to understand how this affects data capture.

Project lead: Julian West


Mind, body and song

We will explore the effect of choral singing on people with dementias by measuring physiological responses (e.g. stress hormones) and psychological responses (subjective anxiety, loneliness and subjective wellbeing) before and after a choral singing session. We hope to capture valuable evidence of the impact of choral singing. For example, is there a reduction in stress hormone responses and therefore a relaxation response, and does this help to decrease anxiety and loneliness?

Project lead: Paul Camic


Dementia-eye view

From Prof. B. Day’s Whole-body Sensorimotor Lab- showing experiments that investigate balance problems in Posterior Cortical Atrophy (PCA).

From Prof. B. Day’s Whole-body Sensorimotor Lab- showing experiments that investigate balance problems in Posterior Cortical Atrophy (PCA).

We will examine how people with dementia-related visual impairment, caused by Posterior Cortical Atrophy (PCA), and their carers, navigate real-world environments, such as galleries, museums and other public spaces, including Wellcome Collection. We will compare their experiences with those of people with typical Alzheimer’s disease (tAD) and their carers.

We will also look at how people with PCA and tAD interpret familiar objects and understand if it is possible to measure their patterns of movement and difficulties, using wearable sensors and audio recordings.

Project lead: Keir Yong


Play it again

Does measuring the responsive change in pupil diameter- known as pupillometry- offer an insight into how someone with dementia processes familiar music?

Music evokes many emotions and therefore listening to music stimulates a physiological response. Pupillometry provides an excellent measure of music’s effects, but there is limited research into how reliable it is. Therefore we plan to replicate the effect of familiar music on pupil size to understand its value before evaluating its impact on people with dementias.

Project lead: Nick Firth


Thinking eyes

Through visual art, this project aims to understand the relationship between perception, identity and communication in people with different dementias.

We will run individual and group sessions in which participants with and without dementias are presented with various forms of visual art and complex imagery. Using computational analysis techniques, we will collect data on the participants’ spoken responses to visual art and their eyes’ response- using an eye tracker to determine where people look and in what order.

By doing so, we aim to help people with dementias express their personal experiences and insights and encourage people to rethink how they perceive art, and the world.

Project lead: Janneke Van Leeuwen


Single yellow lines

What effect do dementias have on the way people express themselves through gestures?

Single Yellow Lines involves participants painting two separate lines on two separate canvasses. The aim when painting the first line is to join the two dots by painting the straightest line possible. The aim of the second line is that it should be the expressive decision of the participant. The lines can be painted at any speed but the execution should be a single action (or gesture) like a move in chess.

The gestures created by participants record a clearly definable moment. Between the beginning and end point of the gesture, information can be gathered and analysed (heart-rate, eye-tracking, temporal experience etc.) and each individual mark is a unique artistic reflection of the experience of that person at that time.

Project Lead: Charlie Harrison

Charlie Harrison's Single Yellow Lines project

Charlie Harrison's Single Yellow Lines project

Things in our lives

Cultural spaces such as museums and art galleries often have a variety of objects which they invite their visitors to explore. We aim to explore the effect viewing visual art and handling museum, and other, objects have on people living with dementias (e.g. related to wellbeing, language and memory), as well as what insights this can provide about people’s relationship with objects and cultural spaces.

Project lead: Paul Camic


Quality of life: DIY

We will explore how well standardised Quality of Life (QoL) measures can capture the experiences of people with rare and young onset dementias.

In allowing those with both rare and typical dementias to choose which scale items are most, least and somewhat important to them, we hope to answer questions such as: does memory matter more than mood? Are chores more important that hobbies? Are money and friendship equally important?

Asking these questions will hopefully allow us to answer broader questions: How do we reduce our experiences to tick boxes? Are questionnaires for those with typical dementias suitable for those with rarer kinds? And ultimately, are certain things more important to some people than others?

The project will help us to consider ways we might tailor other questionnaire measures for people with different dementias and in doing so capture more of the quality of experience in our quantified scales.

Project lead: Emma Harding


Colour Rooms

Presently little information is available concerning the visual and colour preferences of people living with different dementias, particularly in real world environments.

Through a set of miniature monochromatic room models, photographed with a wide-angle lens so that they look life-size, this project will explore how people living with dementias experience colour in different spatial contexts.  We will initially measure the physiological responses (pupil dilation, heart rate and electrodermal response) of people with various forms of dementia, and a control group healthy individuals. We will also explore the link between visual pattern recognition and real world experiences. 

Project lead: Janneke Van Leeuwen


Testing situations

We are placed in a unique setting that allows us access to various opportunities, disciplines, resources and expertise across UCL, Wellcome Collection and multiple academic, cultural and charitable institutions.

Through these collaborations, we plan to create a series of artworks, archives, installations and events taking inspiration from the historical and the present context of cognitive tests that measure our memory, language, thinking and perceptual skills.

Project lead: Charlie Harrison