SURF

Valerie Ekko

Provocative and Fun: How Social Factors Influence Video Game Design

Children who are facing structural disadvantages such as poverty or racism are often left with few opportunities for change. This may result in consequences that directly impact their lifelong economic mobility and opportunities. Interventions such as cognitive behavioral-therapy (CBT), a form of therapy supporting change in thinking and behavior, are effective; yet, the success of these interventions relies entirely on engagement. For children, CBT may be found to be boring, consisting of homework, and not fun to participate in. By creating a video game as a novel form of intervention for behavioral challenges in “heated” (provoking) situations for children, these digital natives can be reached in their preferred medium: fun and engaging video games. But what in-game mechanics and social context are necessary for a game to achieve this? I aim to identify the elements that will be used to guide the development of a novel intervention through co-design playtests using established games that may help kids “stop and think” in heated situations.

Message to Sponsor

As a first-gen and low-income transfer student I have found it extremely difficult to get involved in research. Programs such as these are incredibly helpful in guiding students such as myself toward our goals. I aspire to attend a graduate program after this and I really wanted to let you know how truly grateful I am that through your assistance I will likely reach this goal. Thank you for all your support and thanks to you I'm still very excited about the future and research!
  • Major: Psychology and Arts Practice
  • Sponsor: CACSSF
  • Mentor: Jennifer Skeem