Meaningful Play 2016 at Michigan State University

Session Information

TitleThe Science & Art of Biofeedback Games Designed for Emotional and Mental Health

Isabela GranicIsabela Granic received her PhD from the University of Toronto in developmental psychology. She is currently Professor and Chair of the Developmental Psychopathology department at Radboud University, in the Netherlands. She is also co-founder of The PlayNice Institute, an organization that builds evidence-based games that promote emotional health and well-being for children and youth. Her research focuses on the positive effects of playing video games, including the cognitive, emotional and social benefits. By integrating clinical and developmental research with interactive media design, she is creating a suite of evidence-based games that are also commercially viable and can be widely disseminated to slash the prevalence rates of anxiety, depression and bullying in youth. She has published 50 articles with results from two decades of research which have appeared in the highest impact journals in developmental and clinical psychology.
Learn more about Isabela.

TimeFriday, October 21, 9:00a-10:00a
LocationMSU Union Ballroom
DescriptionDepression and anxiety are the most frequently diagnosed mental health problems, leading to devastating long-term outcomes that affect a huge proportion of children and adolescents across the globe. Engaging, scalable mental health interventions that are respectful and relevant to young people are urgently needed. We prioritize design and art, integrate developmental science and principles of behavioral change, and evaluate our applied games with large-scale randomized controlled trials. In this talk I will: (a) describe the cross-disciplinary framework we use to develop applied mobile, PC and VR games that integrate biofeedback and evidence-based game mechanics to target anxiety and depression, (b) present results from a series of large-scale studies showing the efficacy of games with biofeedback at their core (e.g., EEG neurofeedback, heart rate, breathing); and (c) discuss the controversies and imperatives associated with wide-scale commercialization of evidence-based games. I will conclude with a roadmap to the next five years of programmatic studies on biofeedback games, emphasizing the precise framework by which art, design and science can be integrated to establish a validated toolbox of mechanics relevant to a wide range of interventions. If we can mobilize these game-based interventions through youth-mediated distribution channels, we have an unprecedented potential to slash the prevalence rates of anxiety and depression for the next generation of youth.

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