Tag Archives: Video games

Measuring and Increasing Hope to Improve Performance, Health

Hope shifts focus from the present moment to action paths (“pathways”) required to achieve future goals and motivation to follow these goal routes (“agency”).

Some advocates of mindful attention to the present moment question cultivating hope because it focuses on the future instead of the present, despite abundant empirical evidence that hope is positively associated with academic achievement, health outcomes, and more.

Benjamn Franklin

Benjamn Franklin

Buddhist thinkers argued that hope is illusory and prolongs human suffering and even America’s sage, Benjamin Franklin, noted that one who lives on hope will die fasting.

C. RIck Snyder

C. RIck Snyder

In contrast, hope investigator University of Kansas’s Charles “Rick” Snyder substantiated the health and performance benefits of hope and distinguished hope from learned optimism, self-efficacy, and self-esteem.

He developed and validated measures of hope as a trait and as a state, evaluating “pathways” and “agency” beliefs, with collaborators Cheri Harris, John R Anderson, Sharon A. Holleran, Lori M Irving, Sandra T. Sigmon, Lauren Yoshinobu, June Gibb, Charyle Langelle, and Pat Harney.

Snyder and team reported that children and adults across ethnic and gender groups who scored higher in hope demonstrated:

He offered tips for setting goals and enhancing “pathways” and “agency” toward goals, including:

  • Prioritizing self-selected goals
  • Developing multiple paths for each goal
  • Expecting positive outcomes while designing ways to remove potential obstacles.
Pam Omidyar

Pam Omidyar

One practical application of Snyder’s Hope Theory is Re-Mission,video game for cancer patients, developed by HopeLab’s Pam Omidyar, Pam Kato, and UCLA’s Steven Cole.

Pam Kato

Pam Kato

Adolescent patients in remission with acute leukemia, lymphoma, and soft-tissue sarcoma are required to continue daily chemotherapy treatments for up to several years.
Those who miss even 20% of their daily treatments increase their mortality risk by 200%.

Steve Cole

Steve Cole

Kato collaborated with Cole, West Virginia University’s Andrew Bradlyn and Brad Pollock of University of Texas to evaluate video-game interventions to improve young people’s medication adherence.

 They conducted a randomized trial with baseline and 1 month and 3 month assessments at 34 medical centers in the United States, Canada, and Australia.

Brad Pollock

Brad Pollock

Volunteers were 375 males and females between 13 to 29 years old undergoing chemotherapy for at least 4 months.
Participants in the video game tailored to young cancer patient increased adherence to chemotherapy by 50%, and showed increased self-efficacy and knowledge, compared with those who played commercial video games or no video games.

fMRI studies showed that their brains were most active when they played the game instead of observing the game interface.
Most active areas were:

  • Limbic structures including caudate, putamen, and nucleus accumbens, measuring anticipatory excitement before securing a reward
  • Thalamus, “the internet of the brain”
  • Hippocampus, the link between experience and long-term memory

Cole further evaluated Re-Mission and Zamzee, a motivational system to promote physical activity among young people, and now leads HopeLab’s Re-Mission 2 to further amplify positive health behavior and resilience.

-*How do you leverage hope to improve your work performance and health behaviors?

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How Gaming Can Help You Live Better and Longer

Jane McGonigal

Jane McGonigal

Game designer Jane McGonigal’s TED Talk that gaming fulfills the basic human wishes expressed by dying hospice patients:

• Work less hard
• Stay in touch with friends
• Let myself be happier
• Have the courage to express my true self
• Live a life true to my dreams

She discussed a practical game, Superbetter, she developed following her own experience of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), which left her bedridden, in persistent pain, and suicidal for more than a year.

Based on her love of “Special Missions and Secret Objectives”, she developed four research-based challenges to increase her resilience and capabilities:

• Physical
• Mental
• Emotional
• Social

She asserts that these tasks help players strengthen abilities to remain motivated and optimistic even in the face of difficulty challenge, and boost physical and emotional well-being.
McGonigal links these capabilities to strengthening social support, increasing stamina and willpower.

Perhaps it’s no coincidence that McGonigal’s twin sister and fellow Ph.D., Kelly McGonigal, conducts research at Stanford University on methods to increase willpower and compassion, and to reduce stress and pain.

Her recent book is The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It

Jane McGonigal seems to triumph in this Jane vs. Colbert face-off …though he may have tried to distract her by mentioning that she is “a girl, and an attractive one at that…with that Big Hair…”

Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert

Six-time Stephen Colbert guest, Hayden Planetarium astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s commented that “you’re lucky to come away with your skin when you appear on Colbert’s show.”  Jane seemed to come away with her skin intact.

-*How have you seen gaming improve lives?
-*To what extent do you concur with the hospice patients’ wishes – and implied advice to younger people?

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