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Comedies and Nursery Rhymes Found to Be Effective in Stimulating Emotions of People with Dementia
Brain Wave Measurement Experiment Performed at a Nursing Home

Sep 5, 2019


Mitsukura Laboratory, Faculty of Science and Technology, Keio University
Smiling Park
Dentsu ScienceJam Inc.
TOPPAN FORMS CO., LTD.

Mitsukura Laboratory, Faculty of Science and Technology, Keio University (hereinafter “Mitsukura”), Dentsu ScienceJam Inc. (hereinafter “DSJ”) and TOPPAN FORMS CO., LTD. (hereinafter “TOPPAN FORMS”) jointly performed a demonstration experiment on emotional sensibility, aiming to improve communication with people with dementia. The experiment successfully confirmed the effects of comedy and nursery rhymes on stimulating the emotions of people with dementia.
The demonstration experiment took place at Hohoeminosono, a special nursing home located in Miyakonojo-shi, Miyazaki. Comedy and nursery rhyme performances were shown to 20 elderly people diagnosed with dementia, and their brain waves were measured while watching the show using KANSEI Analyzer®*1 (Emotion Analyzer), a brain wave measurement device. As a result, it was quantitatively confirmed that the subjects were more excited during the show than usual, and watching such performances would help to relieve stress for people with dementia.
People with dementia are said to lack facial expressions and spontaneous behavior. However, the subjects reacted to the show with many expressions. They laughed loudly, clapped their hands and sang along with the singer. The subjects’ behavior may suggest that stimulation with laughter and memories are effective for the brain.
Efforts to conduct similar demonstration experiments will continue in parallel with a study on long-term changes in the degree of recognition after emotional stimulation. Efforts to improve communication with people with dementia will continue.

Background

In Japan, the aging of the population is leading to an increase in the incidence of dementia. According to the New Orange Plan , a national strategy for dementia formulated by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, this disease is common and may affect anyone. The New Orange Plan aims for a society in which people with dementia are respected and can continue to live in a familiar, local environment. Also, the New Orange Plan includes pillars such as “support dementia caregivers” and “prioritize the perspectives of people with dementia and their families, ” expressing the intention to intensify measures that involve people with dementia and people around them. Communication with people with dementia can be difficult for caregivers and families, and measures for improvement are needed.

Overview and results of the experiment

  • Subjects:
    20 people with dementia who use or reside in Hohoeminosono, a special nursing home
  • Method:
    Use KANSEI Analyzer to measure the brain waves of the subjects and monitor changes in their emotions in terms of, for example, excitement and stress.
  • Informational stimuli:
    (1) a comedy show, and (2) a concert with a nursery rhyme singer
  • Result:
    In reaction to stimulus (1), the subjects’ excitement rose by 28.9% on average, whereas their stress fell by 4.8% on average.
    In reaction to stimulus (2), the subjects’ excitement rose by 15.1% on average, whereas their stress fell by 7.5% on average. The same tendency was observed in both subjects with acute and severe dementia.

Future plans

Aiming to support people involved with dementia, TOPPAN FORMS conducts basic research in collaboration with Mitsukura as part of a research project using human sensing technology. By identifying optimal ways to stimulate the emotions of each person with dementia or potential diagnosis of dementia, TOPPAN FORMS pursues the development of a system for improving communication between people with dementia and their caregivers and families. In addition, TOPPAN FORMS and DSJ have jointly filed a patent application for the abovementioned system.
Moreover, TOPPAN FORMS aims to make the system extensively available to caregivers, families of people with dementia and many different business operators involved with dementia.

  • *1 KANSEI Analyzer is a brain wave measurement device. Using the algorithm supervised by Mitsukura, it can estimate subjects’ emotions in terms of excitement, stress and other aspects based on the brain wave data obtained using the headset originally developed by DSJ.
  • * Hohoeminosono is a special nursing home (4670 Marutani-cho, Miyakonojo-shi, Miyazaki) operated by Smiling Park, a social welfare corporation.
  • * KANSEI Analyzer is a registered trademark of Dentsu ScienceJam Inc.
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