Reuters has an article about how the success of games that help to improve the mental abilities of players is inspiring developers to create a new genre of video games… Games like Nintendo’s Brain Age have sparked interest in the use of video games to boost psychological and emotional health. And research into ways that games can be used to create positive emotional effects is growing.
Psychological research has found that components of video games can be used to positively change the way people perceive themselves. Just so you know, the games we’re talking about here probably don’t include Grand Theft Auto. Games can help to foster different patterns of thought by altering what we pay attention to.
From the article:
“All it does is change your attention from one thing to another, but that can make a big difference (in self-esteem and lower stress)”
Attention is something that is often taken for granted in most interactive design, but it plays a crucial role in selecting the information people incorporate and process from all the information that’s available. Attention may appear to be a small concern, but to put it simply, over the course of a lifetime, what you pay attention to determines who you become.
For more on the emotional effects of video games, see:
Video Games Provide More Than Just Fun