- Serious gamification
- Motivating adolescents to do cognitive training
- Award date
- 9 March 2017
- Number of pages
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Adolescence is a developmental period in which an increase in risk taking behavior, such as experimenting with large amounts of alcohol, is common. Although this kind of behavior does not always lead to problematic behavior, excessive use of alcohol at this age can cause significant health problems and school drop-out, and it increases the chance of developing addiction-related problems later in life. It is therefore important to take action at an early stage, to prevent escalation. Previous research has shown that training certain cognitive control processes, such as working memory and inhibition, can be effective means to help adolescents get more grip on their alcohol use. Additionally, a number of relatively automatic processes, such as selective attention for alcohol, can be re-trained, away from the alcohol. Although both of these forms of computerized training have been shown to be effective, they are also often seen as long and boring. Serious games may provide a way to motivate adolescents to complete these cognitive training tasks. This PhD thesis describes a framework for the development of such serious games, with several examples of game-training tasks that were developed. It can be concluded that serious games can indeed play an important, motivating role in cognitive training of adolescents, although the specific circumstances under which this works optimally will need further study.
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