Isabela Granic: Bridging Developmental Science and Game Design to Create Biofeedback Games that Build Emotional Resilience @ The Graduate Center, 365 5th Ave, Room 6421

04/15/2016 12:00 pm – 04/15/2016 1:30 pm Bridging Developmental Science and Game Design to Create Biofeedback Games that Build Emotional Resilience Isabela Granic, Professor & Chair, Developmental Psychopathology Radboud University, The Netherlands
Depression 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. Effective prevention programs that show more than a small effect size and that do not stigmatize, condescend to, lecture and bore children, are urgently needed. Our research program focuses on developing evidence-based games that promote emotional resilience through training skills while children and adolescents are immersed in games they love to play. We prioritize design and art, integrate developmental science and principles of behavioral change, and systematically test our gaming interventions with largescale randomized controlled trials. In this talk I will: (a) describe the cross-disciplinary framework we use to develop PC-based, mobile and virtual reality games that integrate biofeedback and evidence-based game mechanics to target anxiety and depression, (b) present data from a series of four randomized controlled trials that evaluate games that use biofeedback at their core (e.g., EEG neurofeedback, heart rate); and (c) introduce a novel, game-based methodology, that helps us pinpoint the precise game mechanics causally responsible for training emotional resilience. I will conclude with a roadmap to the next five years of programmatic studies in biofeedback games, emphasizing how our design and research methodology can help establish a validated toolbox of mechanics relevant to a wide range of intervention and learning domains.
Isabela Granic got her PhD at 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. Sample publications Granic, I., Lobel, A., & Engels, R. (2014). The benefits of playing video games. American Psychologist, 69, 66-78. Scholten, H., Malmberg, M., Lobel, A., Engels, R. C. M. E., & Granic, I. (2016). A randomized controlled trial to test the effectiveness of an immersive 3D video game for anxiety prevention. PlosOne.