The AEON app aims at helping users practice a mindfulness technique that requires individuals not to react in response to their thoughts, but to be aware of them and observe them while they are going away (distancing from thoughts). AEON originated from the “computer-supported mindfulness” research started in 2011 by prof. Luca Chittaro at the Human-Computer Interaction Lab of the University of Udine.
The effectiveness of the AEON app was tested by three studies.
The first was a thorough lab study, published by the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies (Elsevier), see reference (Chittaro & Vianello, 2014), which contrasted the AEON app with two well-known, traditional techniques for distancing from thoughts, on a sample of novice meditators. AEON allowed participants to reach a better level of mindfulness than traditional methods. Moreover, the app turned out to be more pleasant and easy to practice than traditional methods.
The second study was a qualitative evaluation with novice meditators over a 5-week usage period. The study, published by the Interacting with Computers journal (Oxford University Press), see reference (Chittaro & Vianello, 2016b), indicates that several participants experienced a decentered stance from their worries when using the app, i.e. the desired outcome of practicing distancing from thoughts. The study identifies also new design opportunities for mindfulness apps.
Finally, the third study, published by the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies (Elsevier), see reference (Chittaro & Vianello, 2016a), was based on the publicly available version of the app, and people could take part by answering a mindfulness questionnaire that was shown them after accepting the study conditions, two weeks after, and four weeks after the acceptance. The analysis of users who completed all mindfulness questionnaires (both novice and expert meditators) reveals that AEON helped them, and in particular novice meditators, increase their level of mindfulness over time.
(use these references for citing AEON in scientific and technical papers)
Chittaro L., Vianello, A., (2014). Computer-supported mindfulness: Evaluation of a mobile thought distancing application on naive meditators. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 72(3), 337–348.
Chittaro, L., Vianello, A., (2016a). Evaluation of a mobile mindfulness app distributed through on-line stores: A 4-week study. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 86, 63–80.
Chittaro, L., Vianello, A., (2016b). Mobile mindfulness and user's worry: A qualitative study of using a smartphone app for distancing from negative thoughts. Interacting with Computers, 28(6), 695-717.