Leeds Met student gets the green light to drive exam anxiety away
Richard Jenkinson with the biofeedback device
Using a biofeedback training device, Psychology Masters student Richard Jenkinson's research focuses on teaching students to activate and sustain a state of high coherence, testing whether this will be useful for helping them to better manage exam anxiety. He is currently seeking university students in Leeds to take part in his research and is offering a free biofeedback training session to all participants.
"Anxiety is a pervasive problem that's been suggested to affect one in three students to the level that it negatively impacts academic performance," said Richard.
"The biofeedback device measures a person's pulse and allows his or her heart rate variability and coherence to be viewed in real time (this is the biofeedback). It is commonly used alongside a technique for improving it. Once the user has activated the optimum, low anxiety state, the biofeedback device will show a green light. The students receiving the training should to a certain extent be able to maintain it and put the techniques into practice in real life.
"Another aim of the study is to assess the relative effectiveness of the biofeedback component and the techniques used with it. I will conduct my research with three groups: the first will learn the technique and will use the biofeedback device simultaneously (to be able to monitor their progress; the second group will learn the technique but won't receive biofeedback and the third group will act as a control group and will not learn the technique or receive biofeedback. After participation, students in groups two and three will have the opportunity to learn the technique in combination with biofeedback to ensure all participants have access to the same training (which may help them better manage anxiety).
"As the technique that's taught alongside biofeedback appears heavily influenced by mindfulness practices, the study will also examine the relationship between mindfulness and exam anxiety."
The results of Richard's research will be released in September.