University of Twente Student Theses


Emotion Regulation Through Sounds for People With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Honcoop, Moniek M. (2022) Emotion Regulation Through Sounds for People With Autism Spectrum Disorder.

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Abstract:It happens more than often that people with ASD have difficulty in understanding emotions, and these emotions escalate to a certain point where the person with ASD can have a shutdown (go into isolation) or meltdown (shouting). This study helps people with ASD to have more insights into their emotions by a tracking application for emotion regulation. The idea of this study is to give feedback about emotions through sounds where the sounds might embody emotion regulation. The embodiment of emotion regulation means that the user can feel their emotions through the sounds. The sounds relate to emotions, measured by the proxy of a physiological correlate of emotional arousal (PCEA) with continuous heart rate measurements. This technique comes from the Sense-IT project. This study focuses on creating with the PCEA technique a sound feedback Android application that uses emotional arousal to measure an approximation of emotions. The researcher builds the application through iterations of user interviews and user studies. Eventually, the ideas translate into a working prototype where participants test the prototype to gain insights into whether such an application can exist in the daily lives of people with ASD. To gain the rightful insights, I ask myself the following research question: 1. How can sound effectively give feedback about emotional arousal in a co-created emotion regulation application to people with ASD in which sounds embody emotion regulation such that the sounds represent emotion arousal, and the sounds can become part of the lives of people with ASD? The user interview results show that people with ASD have emotional recognition difficulties because of a stimuli overload. Thus, there is a need for people with ASD to support them with their emotion regulation, which might be possible through tracking applications. The user studies/co-design session results show that the people with ASD think that the sound can 1) react to mimic/simulate the emotions (with emotional arousal) to gain insights into their emotions via emotional arousal or 2) react as a nudge where the sound is nudging the user to make the listener feel at ease to calm down or energize. User testing with non-autistic people shows that the participants perceive the working prototype to work as calming down and energizing. The participants perceive the tracking data of the application as feedback from the combinations of 1) vibrations, 2) colors (of emotional arousal levels), and 3) sounds/music. To conclude, the embodiment of emotional regulation through sound is partially present in this study. The (non-autistic) participants see the sounds as a tool to handle their emotion regulation, but they do not feel their emotions through the sounds. Therefore, the embodiment by sound might partially exist for relaxation/energizing, but not for feeling emotional arousal.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:EEMCS: Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science
Programme:Interaction Technology MSc (60030)
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