Dr. Emma Rodero
Alzheimer's is one of the most widespread diseases in our society. This disease affects the patient's standard of living and their environment. One of the most evident problems occurs in the social interaction and in the communication they establish with their caregivers. Prosody, the way of speaking, composed of intonation, accent and speech rate, has only been recently studied. Therefore, the main objective of this multidisciplinary project is to analyze whether several prosodic strategies can improve the cognitive response and the communicative interaction between the Alzheimer's disease patients (AD) and their caregivers. In other words, the study aims at assessing how a variety of instructions delivered with different prosodic variations is cognitively processed by patients to enhance their attention, motivation, comprehension, and emotional state. To do this, a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods will be applied. The qualitative methods will assess the caregivers' needs and impressions about their relationship with patients through tests, interviews, and focus groups. The quantitative ones will measure the cognitive response of AD patients: their attention, activation, and emotional response. This response will be analyzed by measuring the psychophysiological reaction: heart rate, electrodermal activity, and electromyography. A digital game with tasks will also be designed to measure the motivation and comprehension of the instructions that these patients receive. If the AD patients respond to prosody variations, and we can improve their attention, motivation, comprehension, and emotional status, the results, in addition to showing the importance of prosody in the disease, will contribute to a) implement an Alzheimer's Caregiver Training about how to speak to patients and b) to create a tool, a digital game, which can measure the prosody response of Alzheimer's patients.