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Currently submitted to: JMIR Research Protocols

Date Submitted: Sep 2, 2020
Open Peer Review Period: Sep 2, 2020 - Oct 28, 2020
(currently open for review)

Warning: This is an author submission that is not peer-reviewed or edited. Preprints - unless they show as "accepted" - should not be relied on to guide clinical practice or health-related behavior and should not be reported in news media as established information.

Co-designing an Emotional Bias Modification Intervention for Individuals with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

  • Melvyn Zhang; 
  • Ranganath Vallabhajosyula; 
  • Daniel SS Fung; 



Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common neurodevelopmental disorder, with a worldwide prevalence rate of 5%. Individuals with ADHD often tend to have difficulties with emotional regulation. The advances in experimental psychology has led to the discovery of emotional biases. Targeting emotional biases could potentially help improve the core symptoms of irritability and short-temperedness amongst these individuals. Emotional biases refer to the preferential allocation of attention towards emotional stimuli. A recent study reported the presence of emotional biases amongst children with ADHD when they compared children with ADHD with children without. Gamification technologies have been explored to help diminish the repetitiveness of the task and increase the intrinsic motivation to train. These inconsistent findings of the impact of gaming on the effectiveness of mobile interventions calls for further work to better understand the needs of patients (users) and health care professionals.


The aim of this research study is to collate healthcare professionals’ perspectives about the limitations of the existing task, and to determine if gamification elements could be incorporated, to refine the conventional intervention.


A qualitative research approach, that of a focus group will be used. Healthcare professionals from the Department of Development Psychiatry, Institute of Mental Health, Singapore will be invited to participate in this qualitative research. During the focus group, participants are to comment on the limitations of the existing emotional bias intervention; recommend strategies to improve the intervention; and provide their perspectives pertaining to the use of gamification to improve the intervention.


We expect that the study will be completed in 12 months from the publication of this protocol.


To our best knowledge, this is perhaps one of the only few studies that have attempted to explore emotional biases amongst adolescents with ADHD. Clinical Trial: Not registered


Please cite as:

Zhang M, Vallabhajosyula R, SS Fung D

Co-designing an Emotional Bias Modification Intervention for Individuals with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

JMIR Preprints. 02/09/2020:24078

DOI: 10.2196/preprints.24078


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