Publication Details

Jayasinghe, H., Short, C., Braunack-Mayer, A., Merkin, A. & Hume, C. (2020). Evidence Regarding Automatic Processing Computerized Tasks Designed For Health Interventions in Real-World Settings Among Adults: Systematic Scoping Review. Journal of medical Internet research, 22 (7), e17915.


Harshani Jayasinghe, Camille E Short, Annette Braunack-Mayer, Ashley Merkin, Clare Hume. Originally published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (http://www.jmir.org), 29.07.2020. BACKGROUND: Dual process theories propose that the brain uses 2 types of thinking to influence behavior: automatic processing and reflective processing. Automatic processing is fast, immediate, nonconscious, and unintentional, whereas reflective processing focuses on logical reasoning, and it is slow, step by step, and intentional. Most digital psychological health interventions tend to solely target the reflective system, although the automatic processing pathway can have strong influences on behavior. Laboratory-based research has highlighted that automatic processing tasks can create behavior change; however, there are substantial gaps in the field on the design, implementation, and delivery of automatic processing tasks in real-world settings. It is important to identify and summarize the existing literature in this area to inform the translation of laboratory-based research to real-world settings. OBJECTIVE: This scoping review aims to explore the effectiveness of automatic training tasks, types of training tasks commonly used, mode of delivery, and impacts of gamification on automatic processing tasks designed for digital psychological health interventions in real-world settings among adults. METHODS: The scoping review methodology proposed by Arskey and O'Malley and Colquhoun was applied. A scoping review was chosen because of the novelty of the digital automatic processing field and to encompass a broad review of the existing evidence base. Electronic databases and gray literature databases were searched with the search terms "automatic processing," "computerised technologies," "health intervention," "real-world," and "adults" and synonyms of these words. The search was up to date until September 2018. A manual search was also completed on the reference lists of the included studies. RESULTS: A total of 14 studies met all inclusion criteria. There was a wide variety of health conditions targeted, with the most prevalent being alcohol abuse followed by social anxiety. Attention bias modification tasks were the most prevalent type of automatic processing task, and the majority of tasks were most commonly delivered over the web via a personal computer. Of the 14 studies included in the review, 8 demonstrated significant changes to automatic processes and 4 demonstrated significant behavioral changes as a result of changed automatic processes. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first review to synthesize the evidence on automatic processing tasks in real-world settings targeting adults. This review has highlighted promising, albeit limited, research demonstrating that automatic processing tasks may be used effectively in a real-world setting to influence behavior change.



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