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CARL RAS X CURVEX X MINDSTRAIN

Copenhagen 20th of October 2022

Introduction

MINDstrain is a mental health company that specializes in meta-cognition to help their clients re-train their thinking so that they can better handle stressful situations.

They have just finished a three-session intervention with Carl Ras, where 18 employees participated in MINDstrain’s 20-module program. 

CURVEX is a mental health company that produces a lightweight and easy-to-use neuro-headset that can interpret signals in the brain. Just like how a radio detects different frequency channels in the air to allow us to hear different music stations, our headset’s electrodes detect different neural frequency channels as well. 

CURVEX’s software analyzes these neural frequencies in real time and translates them into easily understandable metrics that reflect human thinking. These metrics include mental effort, focus, flow, and calm, and they can give users insights into their various moods.

Here are the various frequency channels and what cognitive states they represent.

These signals come from the prefrontal cortex which is this highlighted area of the brain here:

Main Finding

The objective for CURVEX was to make a mental assessment of Carl Ras employees by measuring their various cognitive levels and assessing their mental health at the office. We found that not only do the employees have a very good mental well-being, which shows that Carl Ras goes above and beyond the average company when it comes to preventing stress and burnout in the office, but also that the MINDstrain intervention helped even further.

Details

In this project, CURVEX’s headsets were used to measure two cognitive levels:

  1. Calm: The ability to relax the mind and clear yourself of strong emotions.
  2. Focus: How much concentration is being used on a specific thought, activity, or assignment.

Specifically, the Carl ras participants were asked to do their office work while taking brain recordings at 3 stages: before the start, after 10 modules, and after all 20 modules. 

Part 1: Calm

Overall, the employees’ level of calm increased by 4.4%. Here is an overview of everyone’s levels of calm:

The reason why there is such a variation on the individual level is because different employees were already at different levels of calm. And, similarly to how a headache pill only works if one has a headache, otherwise there is no change, working on calming yourself only works if you are not in a calm state. Because of this, the intervention has varying effects on different people. 

With this in mind, one of the best demonstrations of improvement in calm can be seen here:

This individual showed initial low levels of calm, but after practicing the modules, they were able to increase their calm. This individual is a perfect example of how mental health exercises like those given by MINDstrain can make a significant impact on people’s well-being in the workplace. 

To compare their results with the others, here is a breakdown of all the participant’s scores comparing before and after the entire project:

The chart above shows that 12 out of the 18 participants showed improved levels of calm, and therefore had a positive experience with the interventional.

Below is a breakdown of the number of participants in each % of change bracket. 7 Carl ras employees increased their calm levels by 0 to 10%.

Part 2: Focus

Cognitive levels of Focus are not as simple as calm. For example, when we are learning something new, we use a lot of focus to process the material. As the material or skill becomes understood, we use less levels of focus to do it. Walking is a perfect example of a skill that takes a lot of focus in the beginning, but as we master it, requires no focus at all. In this regard, lower levels of focus would indicate skill comprehension.

On the other hand, if one is easily distracted and shifts their attention between their devices, the news, people watching, daydreaming, etc. then increasing their focus level is something they would aim for. 

Because of this, aiming for higher or lower focus levels is very subjective. In the case of this project with Carl ras employees, having more focus can indicate that one is more engaged in their work and able to block out distractions. Similarly, having less focus can also mean they are more relaxed with their work and are experiencing more “presence” which gives them the ability to remain calm and use less energy to focus on their work.

The data shows that focus decreased by 2.9% over the entire intervention period. Below,  you can see everyone’s progress.

Just like with the calm results, it is easy to see that everyone’s focus levels are very individual.

Below are the focus scores from the same individual shown before with the greatest change in calm. Their levels showed decreasing levels of focus which means they used less energy to do their tasks. Therefore, as they increased their levels of calm, their focus decreased, which could indicate an optimized mental state for doing their work.

Here are everyone’s focus scores from before and after the project, and also their change. 

The below chart shows that most people’s focus decreased in the range of 0 – 10%.

Here you can see that 7 people decreased their levels of calm by 0-10% which could be related to their increased levels of calm and more “presence.”

Conclusion

Overall, the Carl Ras employees managed to improve their levels of calm in just a few hours of mental health work. The more they practice, the more their cognitive performance will improve. 

This project has been fun and exciting for all parties. It was a pleasure being able to encourage people to practice their own mental health by teaching them about the importance of various exercises and showing them that they can, in fact, make a difference in their own levels of performance. 

Best regards,

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Thomas Ousterhout Ph.D.

Chief Operations Officer, CURVEX