Designing a Personal Music Assistant That Enhances the Social, Cognitive, and Affective Experiences of People With Dementia


Computers in Human Behavior




Research shows that music with a strong personal meaning can enhance the social, cognitive, and affective experiences of both people with dementia (PwD) and their social environment. We applied a human-centred design method, called situated Cognitive Engineering, to develop the conceptual design and design rationale of the Music ePartner. The design rationale specifies the general knowledge-base (ontology), context (use cases), and expected effects (claims) of the ePartner support. Three functionalities were developed through rapid prototyping: (1) annotated play lists, (2) a music and picture album, and (3) a picture slide show. Accompanied by a close relative, five PwD participated in a formative evaluation of the prototype at their regular day care centres. All participants interacted with all three functionalities of the prototype as they would in their natural setting. The researchers observed participants’ responses to the prototype using observational scoring forms, and interviewed participants about their experiences using semi-structured interviews. Results showed that the music stimulated PwD to tell life stories related to the songs. Furthermore, music evoked positive individual and group experiences. Specific constraints, additional user needs, and interaction requirements for the Music ePartner resulted in a refinement of both the requirements baseline and the design rationale. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)

Music and Health Institute Terms

Alzheimer's and Related Dementias; Cognitive Abilities; Interviews; Memory; Music in Combination with Other Techniques; Musical Games and Activities; Neurodegenerative Disorders; Recreative Music Methods; Self-Report Measures

Indexed Terms

Dementia; Personalization; Design; Experience sharing; ePartner; Cognition; Computer Applications; Human Computer Interaction

Study Type

Case Study; Qualitative Methods

Document Type