Brain News – A new study has explored how the art of traditional mandala coloring can be transformed digitally and used in new mindfulness practices and technologies.
The researchers from Lancaster University developed a prototype called “Anima” to read people’s brain activity during and after mandala coloring sessions.
The Art Of Mandalas
A mandala is a geometric configuration of shapes and symbols. Making mandalas in a variety of colors using different media is a popular practice in eastern cultures, like Hinduism and Buddhism.
“Anima” is a human-computer interface that combines traditional mandala coloring with cutting-edge computing and brain sensing technologies to study how people’s brain signals fire up during coloring mandalas and produce real-time feedback on a peripheral display as a result of experiencing certain levels of mindfulness.
“Anima” has a tablet device for users to color digital mandalas, a second display in the shape of an artist’s palette, and an EEG headset to read brain activity.
The participants were asked to choose four colors and color a digital mandala on the tablet device wearing the EEG headset.
The EEG readings were then represented, on the periphery display, as new additional colors (based on the four chosen colors) with new levels of saturation and brightness. This helped the participants openly monitor their mindfulness levels, without getting distracted easily.
Mindfulness was represented by the more subtle shades of color, whereas the brighter color represented poor focus or distraction.
The results, published in Human-Computer Interaction, shed light on the mental state of people after they have colored mandalas and perceived their finished artwork. When coloring mandalas, people remember emotional memories.
When they finish coloring, they prefer to reflect on and re-engage with their completed mandalas. They even try to recolor the mandalas with positive colors, because their reflections have shifted their mental situations and they perceive their art with increased positivity and perfection.
When it comes to mindfulness and mental health, the researchers are enthusiastic that coloring digital mandalas can be more effective than traditional mandala coloring, which is paper-based or done on ground surfaces.
Gadgets that give feedback on mindfulness during mandala coloring sessions can help users monitor their reflective thinking and improve their mandala coloring as a focused-attention mindfulness practice. Digital mandalas can also help them develop fine motor skills.
Most importantly, this research can lead to innovative mindfulness techniques and technologies that can aid better learning and help people deal with depression, stress, and other mental health disorders.
To Know More You May Relate To
Daudén Roquet, Claudia & Sas, Corina & Potts, Dominic. (2021). Exploring Anima: a brain-computer interface for peripheral materialization of mindfulness states during mandala coloring. Human-Computer Interaction. 1-41. 10.1080/07370024.2021.1968864.