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PhD Pre Application Presentation

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PhD Presentation (Doctorate)
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PhD Pre Application Presentation

  1. 1. Hi, I’m Michelle Pre-Application Presentation
  2. 2. Research and Practice History
  3. 3. BS Computer Science, Major in Software Technology De La Salle University - Manila, Philippines ● Dean’s List ● Harvest of Winners Nominee ● Multimedia Club Most Active Member Research Papers NATURAL LANGUAGE GENERATION OF MUSEUM OBJECT DESCRIPTIONS BASED ON USER MODEL ● Presented at the 22nd Pacific Asia Conference on Language, Information and Computation VIRTUAL MUSEUM WITH NATURAL LANGUAGE GENERATION ● Thesis for BS Computer Science, Major in Software Technology
  4. 4. Game Developer Programmer Game Designer Producer Project Manager Artist Technical Reviewer More than 8 years experience in companies such as Mattel, in the Philippines and Taiwan.
  5. 5. Mattel | Orangenose Studio | Fruitshop International Co. | Mobili Studio | Ladyluck Digital Media WORK
  6. 6. Le Petit Prince x Mixed Reality was exhibited during Maker’s Faire at National Taiwan Science Education Center and Digital Taipei at World Trade Center, and it was also a finalist in Taiwan’s Digital 4C Competition. PERSONAL PROJECTS
  7. 7. GAME JAMS
  8. 8. Master of Science (MSc), Video Game Enterprises and Production with Distinction Birmingham City University, UK ● Toptal STEM Scholarships for Women Winner ● European Women in Games Conference Student Award Winner ● Extra Mile: Student of the Year Nomination Masters by Practice DEPRESSION SIMULATOR ● Depression Simulator is a semi-finalist for the Stylist x Diet Coke Creator’s Collective
  9. 9. GameIndustry.biz 100 Future Talent BAFTA Crew Member STEM Ambassador Women in Games Ambassador ● Currently studying University Certificate in Psychology at University of Derby ● Volunteers at game conventions and conferences such as EGX and PAX ● Teaches kids aged 6 to 12 how to code video games and robotics
  10. 10. Motivation for PhD Research
  11. 11. More than 100 stories, music and art inspiration submissions from HitRecord.
  12. 12. There are thousands of unverified mental health apps available for Apple and Android, encompassing mindfulness, CBT, mood tracking, peer support and more. “I have no tolerance for developers who try to avoid taking responsibility for the safety of people online. We have a responsibility to our users – it’s the only route to a good, rigorous resource.” Jen Hyatt, CEO of Big White Wall Source: http://www.impactventuresuk.com/press-releases-and-news/big-white-wall-one-of-four-nhs-apps-found-to-be-clinically-effective/
  13. 13. Proposed Research
  14. 14. Developing Video Games for Mental Health Video Games, Empathy Games, Serious Games, Gamification, Psychology, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Mental Health Awareness, Therapy and Game- Based Intervention
  15. 15. Video games are an increasingly popular medium with 2.2 billion active gamers in the world, and are expected to generate $108.9 billion in game revenues in 2017.
  16. 16. How to develop games for mental health?
  17. 17. Two general types of video games for mental health: ● Empathy Games ○ Examples: “That Dragon, Cancer”, “Actual Sunlight”, “Depression Quest” and “Elude” ● Serious Games, including Gamification ○ Examples: “Sparx”, “Champions of Shengha”, “ReachOut Orb”, “Habitica” and “SuperBetter” ● Games with themes of mental health: ○ Examples: “Hellblade”, “Life is Strange”, “Celeste”, “Town of Light” and “Journey”
  18. 18. How to accurately represent mental illness in video games?
  19. 19. How to use video games to foster player empathy for mental health awareness?
  20. 20. Existing Research: ● Belman, J. & Flanagan, M ● Values of Play ● iThrive Games
  21. 21. What are the psychological and emotional benefits of playing video games?
  22. 22. How to design video games for people suffering from mental illness?
  23. 23. Methodology and Research Tasks ● Review of Related Literature and Video Games ● Data Collection ● Game Development (Agile Methology) ○ Concept ○ Design ○ Development ○ Testing ○ Release
  24. 24. Why RMIT is an Appropriate Context for My Research
  25. 25. Creative Interventions, Art & Rehabilitative Technology (CiART) “CiART is a vehicle to consolidate research in interactive media art, design, digital technology and its application in allied health related disciplines. In design research and creative practice, it has a particular focus on therapeutic applications and complementary care.” Source: https://www.rmit.edu.au/about/our-education/academic-schools/media-and-communication/research/research-centres-and-groups/research-labs/ciart
  26. 26. Thank you!

Editor's Notes

  • Jen Hyatt is CEO of Big White Wall, an online community for those experiencing mental health problems. She’s passionate about what she calls the “transformative” role of mental health apps.

    “They can provide access to services from the comfort of the home. Many people find it hard to access services because of geography, because of mental ill health, because of physical disability. We’ve also found that, in the 50% of cases that do get to a GP, they’re not able to guide mental health problems adequately.”

    Big White Wall and WorkGuru, among others, are keen to make sure that mental health apps are clinically sound and socially responsible — but many other apps fail to replicate this eye for detail. There are thousands of unverified mental health apps available for Apple and Android, encompassing mindfulness, CBT, mood tracking, peer support and more. So how can we make sure we’re not being duped?

    Jen Hyatt also ensures a similar process for Big White Wall.

    “I have no tolerance for developers who try to avoid taking responsibility for the safety of people online. We have a responsibility to our users – it’s the only route to a good, rigorous resource.”

    “We have support staff 24/7. We have data analytics, tests we use to screen for tests, and a clinical governance handbook that has protocols for issues like suicide ideation, self harm and other crises. They can be escalated to a clinical psychiatrist within two minutes.”

    “And Google and Android should make prominent those apps that have this kind of strong basis. The whole industry has a responsibility to promise those that work.”


    http://www.impactventuresuk.com/press-releases-and-news/big-white-wall-one-of-four-nhs-apps-found-to-be-clinically-effective/
  • Although not developed for mental health intervention, the game Journey (Thatgamecompany, 2012) has been explored by the Games and Emotional Health Lab for its therapeutic potential and promising intervention for depression (Gotsis, 2017).
  • That Dragon, Cancer (Numinous Games, 2016) is about the real life story of the developers, Ryan and Amy Green, raising their terminally ill son, Joel. Green says, “I’m not sure if everyone who has played That Dragon, Cancer claims to have grasped what we went through, but they are now able to relate to it in a very personal way (Green, cited in Wells 2016)”. While according to Will O’Neill, the developer of Actual Sunlight, the game is “almost 100 percent autobiographical (O’Neill, cited in Smith 2015)”. However, it would be difficult for the proposed research to design a game based solely on personal experience.

    For the author’s Masters by Practice, she developed a point-and-click puzzle empathy game called Depression Simulator. She wanted to create a game that is autobiographical but at the same time also represents more point of views about depression, so she solicited contributions in the form of stories, images and even music from the collaboration website HitRecord. The proposed research would take a similar approach, and look into the values provided by lived experiences.

    For data collection, the author is currently developing an online platform where people suffering from mental illness can freely share their stories in the form of writings, images, video and music. The author will also use the platform to work closely with the community and ask for feedback and feedforward.

    In addition, the proposed research would also like to work closely with experts in psychology and mental health. Similar to Hellblade (Ninja Theory, 2017), where the main character suffers from psychosis, and the developers worked closely with Professor Paul Fletcher, a neuroscientist and psychosis expert at the University of Cambridge in order to portray psychosis as accurately as possible (Lloyd, 2017).
  • There are two broad categories of empathy: emotional empathy and cognitive empathy. Emotional empathy is the automatic and often unconscious response to another’s emotions, while cognitive empathy is intentionally taking another person’s point of view (Hoffman, 1987; Stephen & Finlay, 1999). Some studies induce empathy in participants through experimental manipulation and compare their responses with control groups. These studies are more generalizable to the design of video games (Belman & Flanagan, 2010).

    Belman and Flanagan published a paper in the International Journal of Cognitive Technology as a resource for those interested in using video games to foster player empathy. They have also been working on a project called Values of Play that is devoted to assisting students in creating games for good. iThrive Games, an organization supported by The D.N. Batten Foundation and Centerstone Research Institute, also released resources on design principles for designing empathy games. The proposed research will test the proposed design principles by both Values of Play and iThrive Games in the design and development of video games.
  • Belman and Flanagan published a paper in the International Journal of Cognitive Technology as a resource for those interested in using video games to foster player empathy. They have also been working on a project called Values of Play that is devoted to assisting students in creating games for good. iThrive Games, an organization supported by The D.N. Batten Foundation and Centerstone Research Institute, also released resources on design principles for designing empathy games. The proposed research will test the proposed design principles by both Values of Play and iThrive Games in the design and development of video games.
  • The proposed research will look into the psychological benefits of playing video games, building upon existing research on the topic.
  • There have been studies on how games can be used for relaxation, such as by observing the brain waves and heart rate variability of players as they played Bejewelled 2 (PopCap Games, 2004) and seeing how it relates to mood and stress levels (Russoniello et.al., 2009), and studying how the levels of immersion in games, such as World of Warcraft (Blizzard, 2004), correlated to the player’s wellbeing (Snodgrass et. al., 2011).

    CheckPoint is a charity that connects mental health resources with video games and technology, including producing a series of videos and a compilation of papers about the psychological and emotional benefits of playing video games.

    In a paper by Ryan, Rigby and Przybylski, they looked into how games can be used to improve mood and how the mechanics of video games can relate to the well-established model of wellbeing in psychology, Self-Determination Theory (Ryan et.al., 2006). They conducted studies, letting participants play different types and games and then observed their wellbeing after playing.
  • The proposed research will look into the characteristics of video games with psychological and emotional benefits that were and were not necessarily designed to improve wellbeing, and apply those concepts in the design of video games for people suffering from mental illness.
  • Champions of the Shengha (BfB Labs, 2017) makes use of biofeedback technology, in the form of a heart rate sensor, to train players in emotional regulation (Tucker, 2017). Following its success, Bfb Labs is currently developing another game to treat children with general anxiety disorder.

    While SuperBetter (SuperBetter, 2012) is a game that is designed to help people live a better life, including beating depression and overcoming anxiety. SuperBetter was validated in two clinical trials conducted at University of Pennsylvania, and at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital funded by the National Institutes of Health.

    Sparx was developed by the University of Auckland in collaboration with young people to teach players mood management skills in a fantasy world where they have to get rid of gloom and negativity via different quests. Sparx has been tested through randomized control trials and have been found to be at least as effective as treatment as usual, and produced higher remission rates (Merry et.al., 2012).

    The proposed research would also look into the gamification of mental health treatments, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, similar to Sparx (University of Auckland, 2013).
  • Methodology and Research Tasks:

    Wesley Turner et. al. published a Primer for Developing Games for Mental Health, which included a checklist for the different stages of development: Conceptualisation, Project Planning, Developer Consultation, Ownership Rights and Adaptation (Turner et. al., 2016). The proposed research will adapt some of the stages of development where applicable.

    While Theresa Fleming et. al. identified four key ways for maximizing the impact of video games in mental health, namely: user-centered approaches, engaging and effective interventions, intersectional and international collaborations, and rapid testing and development (Fleming et. al., 2017).

    Review of Related Literature

    The proposed research will review related literature, and analyze existing video games and projects that focus on empathy, mental health and psychology in video games, including review existing research by the Creative Interventions, Art & Rehabilitative Technology (CiART) of the Centre for Game Design Research, proceedings from Symposium on Games for Mental Health at KU Leuven, Symposium on Computing and Mental Health at Chi Play Workshops.

    Data Collection

    As identified by Theresa Fleming et. al., it is necessary to have a user-centered approach, because the motivations and preferences of different user groups on their mental health needs are different (Fleming et. al., 2017).

    In order to cater to this, the proposed research will collect information through surveys and interviews from people with lived experiences, as well as consult experts in psychology and mental health. As mentioned before, the author is currently developing an online platform for data collection.

    Due to the sensitive nature of the proposed research, attention would also be given to address issues of confidentiality, such as people’s medical history, and ownership of people’s stories about their lived experience.

    Game Development

    The author is proposing a PhD by project and dissertation. The project should be undertaken as part of the PhD and not as a stand-alone project, because in order to develop video games for mental health requires diverse skills from both experts in psychology and mental health, and video game development (Fleming et. al., 2017), as well as significant research.

    The proposed project will apply the Agile Methodology for a rapid and iterative game development process. The stages of the game development are: Concept, Design, Development, Testing and finally Release. This methodology is chosen because this will allow the proposed research to receive feedback and feedforward which can be applied in the refinement of the video game. Rapid testing and implementation is also one of the ways identified by Fleming et. al. to maximize the impact of video games in mental health, because user expectations of video games evolve rapidly (Fleming et. al., 2017).


    During the Concept stage, the proposed research will answer a few questions identified by Turner et. al. at their Conceptualisation stage, such as the purpose of the game, underpinning theories for the game, the intended target audience (Turner et. al., 2016).

    During the Design stage, the proposed research will answer a few questions identified by Turner et. al. at their Project Planning and Developer Consultation stage, such as the game genre, potential barriers that may impede game development, the game’s expected assessment or treatment outcomes, ideas for gameplay, essential and non-essential aspects of the game, such as narrative and level design, and platform of delivery (Turner et. al., 2016). The psychological theories will also need to be identified at this stage (Turner et. al., 2016), as well as how it can be translated to game mechanics (Tujinman et. al., 2017).

    Currently, games for mental health have been predominantly delivered via PC (Kharrazi et. al., 2012; Rahmani et. al., 2012) with a small percentage delivered via mobile devices (Kharrazi et al., 2012). The proposed research will consider both these platforms, as well as new platforms such as virtual reality.

    Based on the game design, tools needed to develop the game, such as game engines and softwares, will be identified. The scope and scale of the game design will also determine if the proposed research will need to collaborate with other game developers, such as additional programmers, artists and sound designers, on the project. The game will be tested and released to a test group, and iterated based on feedback and feedforward.

    In order to properly evaluate the game’s expected assessment or treatment outcomes, new assessment and monitoring tools may need to be developed as the most intervention studies are assessed through self-report measures (Tujinman et. al., 2017). Randomized Control Trials may also be used to measure the treatment outcomes.

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