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Psychologists Develop New App to Help You ‘Think Smarter’

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A new health app has been designed by psychologists at Staffordshire University to help people ‘think smarter’.

Associate Professor of Psychology Martin Turner and colleagues founded The Smarter Thinking Project which uses Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) to develop a mindset that helps you respond resiliently to life’s challenges.

Working with a range of clients – including business leaders, the military and elite athletes – the team uses REBT to challenge irrational beliefs and improve performance in high pressure situations. Now, that research is available to the general public and fellow practitioners through a new app called ‘Smarter Thinking 2’.

‘When we work with athletes or business people, we set them tasks in between sessions to make sure they are maintaining their goals, they keep learning to challenge their beliefs and keep learning how to arrive at more beneficial emotions for their performance.’ Martin explained.

‘Often what we give them is paper-based assignments but we found that people often make errors, sometimes they do the task, sometimes they don’t. So, we decided to create a digital version of this task and with a smartphone app it can be carried around, you can access it whenever is convenient, and it has the ability to store progress when the individual uses it.’

Through a series of questions the app prompts the user to think about difficult situations they face, the emotions they experience and more importantly the beliefs they have around what happens to them. It then challenges those beliefs to help the user understand how irrational thoughts and beliefs might be leading to these negative emotions.

Martin said: ‘We really wanted to design something that helps practitioners to work with individuals using REBT. The user is able to store their progress then take it to their next therapy session and go through it in detail with a practitioner.

‘In addition, individuals can use this independently and we’ve developed a guidance document to help people understand how it works and the mechanics behind it.’

Martin and Dr Andrew Wood developed the app on site at Staffordshire University working with colleagues in the Digital Kiln to design the look and feel of the app which provides a choice of themes and settings.

The app also allows the team to record data to understand how people use the platform. Information about the beliefs and experiences that users have as they interact with the world of performance can also be used to inform further research.

Martin added: ‘Our work has shown that REBT can be a really effective way to manage your emotions and challenge negative thoughts. Hopefully this app will open up the benefits of REBT to a whole new audience.’

The Smarter Thinking 2 app is available to download for free from the Google Play and Apple app stores.

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