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Can video games inspire altruism?

(Editor’s Note: we are pleased to bring you this arti­cle thanks to our col­lab­o­ra­tion with Greater Good Mag­a­zine).

Gam­ing for Good
Research sug­gests that games like Lem­mings, where the goal is to help oth­ers, inspire real-life acts of altru­ism.
— By Kyle Smith

For years, video games have been linked to aggres­sion and vio­lence, with researchers and media reports sug­gest­ing that vio­lent games have inspired or even caused vio­lent acts.

But a new study sug­gests that video games can be a force for good, find­ing that games with pos­i­tive objec­tives can actu­al­ly inspire peo­ple to per­form acts of altru­ism.

lemmings-435x285Over four exper­i­ments, Tobias Gre­it­e­mey­er and Sil­ia Oss­wald, researchers at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Sus­sex in Eng­land and Lud­wig-Max­i­m­il­ian Uni­ver­si­ty in Ger­many, respec­tive­ly, had par­tic­i­pants play either a “proso­cial” game—a game where the goal is to help others—or a “neu­tral” game, mean­ing it has no char­ac­ters with whom to inter­act pos­i­tive­ly or neg­a­tive­ly, like Tetris. Then the researchers placed the par­tic­i­pants in sit­u­a­tions where they had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to help oth­ers, rang­ing from low-risk sit­u­a­tions, such as see­ing a dropped cup of pen­cils, to high-risk ones, like wit­ness­ing an angry ex-boyfriend harass an exper­i­menter.

Gre­it­e­mey­er and Oss­wald want­ed to see if the par­tic­i­pants wee more like­ly to inter­vene Read the rest of this entry »

Cognitive Health Track at Games for Health Conference: Full Schedule Announced!

Games for Health and Sharp­Brains have part­nered to bring you the first Cog­ni­tive Games for Health Conference - Cognitive Health TrackHealth Track in a Games for Health Con­fer­ence, June 11–12th in Boston. If you are inter­est­ed, in attend­ing the con­fer­ence, you can learn more and reg­is­ter Here.

To get a 15% off reg­is­tra­tion fees ($379), you can use dis­count code: sharp09, when you reg­is­ter Here.

Cog­ni­tive Health Track, Pow­ered by Sharp­Brains

Thurs­day, June 11th

10.20 (50m) Bird’s Eye View of Cog­ni­tive Health Inno­va­tion
Speaker(s): Alvaro Fer­nan­dez, Sharp­Brains

Sci­en­tif­ic, tech­no­log­i­cal and demo­graph­ic trends have con­verged to cre­ate a new $265m mar­ket in the US alone: seri­ous games, soft­ware and online appli­ca­tions that can help peo­ple of all ages assess and train cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties. Alvaro Fer­nan­dez will pro­vide a Bird’s Eye View of the sci­ence, mar­ket seg­ments and trends, com­pet­i­tive land­scape, and main chal­lenges ahead, based on The State of the Brain Fit­ness Soft­ware Mar­ket 2009 report released in May, which includ­ed Research Exec­u­tive Briefs pre­pared by 12 lead­ing sci­en­tists and a sur­vey of 2,000+ deci­sion-mak­ers and ear­ly adopters.

61% of respon­dents to the sur­vey Strong­ly Agreed with the state­ment “Address­ing cog­ni­tive and brain health should be a health­care pri­or­i­ty.” But, 65% Agreed/Strongly Agreed with “I don’t real­ly know what to expect from prod­ucts mak­ing brain claims.” In this ses­sion, Alvaro will pub­licly unveil the new book The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness: 18 Inter­views with Sci­en­tists, Prac­ti­cal Advice, and Prod­uct Reviews, To Keep Your Brain Sharp, co-authored by neu­ropsy­chol­o­gist Dr. Elkhonon Gold­berg and him­self, aimed at help­ing con­sumers and pro­fes­sion­als under­stand and nav­i­gate this grow­ing field.

11.20 (30m) The All­state-Posit Sci­ence Part­ner­ship: Cog­ni­tive Train­ing for Safer Dri­ving
Speaker(s): Tom War­den, All­state; Hen­ry Mah­ncke, Posit Sci­ence

Evi­dence-based cog­ni­tive train­ing pro­grams have been avail­able in retire­ment com­mu­ni­ties for sev­er­al years. Now, they are reach­ing a younger pop­u­la­tion includ­ing Boomers through inno­v­a­tive part­ner­ships, like insur­ers.

In Octo­ber 2008 auto insur­ance com­pa­ny All­state and brain fit­ness soft­ware devel­op­er Posit Sci­ence announced a research col­lab­o­ra­tion that could lead to “poten­tial­ly the next big break­through in auto­mo­bile safe­ty”. The pur­pose of this ses­sion is to review nov­el ways of get­ting the sci­ence of cog­ni­tive train­ing into the real world where it can help peo­ple. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from All­state and Posit Sci­ence will dis­cuss why these part­ner­ships work for insur­ers, devel­op­ers, and end users. They will also pro­vide a thor­ough review of the eval­u­a­tion process a major part­ner goes through when select­ing a cog­ni­tive train­ing com­pa­ny.

12.00 (30m) What Con­sumers Buy and Why
Speaker(s): Lind­say Gask­ins, Mar­bles: The Brain Store

Launched in Octo­ber 2008, Mar­bles: The Brain Store is a retail store that Read the rest of this entry »

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters and more, SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking health and performance applications of brain science.

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