Judith Pokorni

Judith L. Pokorni

Senior Research Scientist I at Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation

Location:
11720 BELTSVILLE DRIVE, SUITE 900, Beltsville, Maryland, United States
HQ Phone:
(301) 755-2700

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Judith Pokorni
Senior Research Scientist I

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Judith Pokorni
Senior Research Scientist I pokorni@pire.org (301) 755-2715

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Dr. Judith Pokorni, now a researcher for the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE), learned of the Grecos' research and neurofeedback technology system while participating in a PIRE group discussion led by Henry Harbin, a consultant for CyberLearning Technology.
Judy had not previously experimented with video as a medium but was fascinated by the use of neurofeedback in video games to improve intervention strategies for high-risk children and youth. Judy immediately began designing her next research project with SMART BrainGames in mind. As a prelude to a more formal study, she spent two months working with the technology considering possible populations and research designs with which it might be useful. Judy pitched the idea of studying neurofeedback within video games through the NCTI Technology in the Works competition to the Grecos. Together they began their trek to become one of the 2007 NCTI Bright Ideas awardees. Judy wanted to study the effects of memory concentration with adolescents with attention deficits who, by all reports, would respond well to an intervention using video games. She also wanted to test the technology in a non-clinical environment while using a rigorous research design. A neurofeedback-based system would record the BETA/ALPHA brainwave patterns of teens during the video game play. The records would then be sent over the Internet to the Greco's team for analysis. Although the Grecos had evidence that their neurofeedback-based program worked in supervised clinical and home environments, they were excited to work with Judy in a controlled study that would gather empirical evidence with adolescents in the home setting with minimal direct contact and supervision. Both teams agreed that they had the research expertise and technology, but needed to identify a population of students with special needs to test their theories. Through her network of educators and researchers, Judy turned to trusted colleague, Dr. Patricia Jamison, Director of Special Education for the public school district in Kent County, Maryland for assistance. Patricia introduced Judy to six families who participated in the trial over an 8-week period using the SMART BrainGames technology 4 or 5 times a week. Judy understood the issues and procedures and was highly supportive of our team and the time constraints we were under. Overcoming Challenges Lindsay and Judy summarized the project, We were on the west coast; Judy was on the east. Due to funding limitations, we were afforded only a small sample of teens. The timing of the award happened in May which wasn't the best to work with a school partner and to find a student population willing and interested in working with us over the summer in a home-based setting. The families who participated in our research lived on the Maryland eastern shore; two hours away from Judy. Dr. Judith Pokorni, Senior Research Scientist at Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation in Calverton, MD: Judy has devoted her career to working with and for children with special needs, Judy's expertise ranges across public and private organizations including a school system, a medical center, university, and nonprofit agencies and includes both service and research. She has studied the impact of developmental interventions for premature babies and their caregivers, designed community-based developmental services for high risk children and youth, studied long-term effects of prenatal exposure to cocaine, and designed and implemented interventions for children and youth with learning disorders, attention deficits and other special needs. This study is her first using neurofeedback which she considers a technology that has great merit in the future for providing support for children and youth with special needs.

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