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Local Middle School Students Invited To Participate in Research Study Involving Video Games
September 30, 2013

Image by Chapendra via Flickr

Madison-area students in 7th and 8th grade (enrollment as of Fall 2013) are being invited to participate in a research study that will help scientists investigate the use of video games as tools for training well-being.

The Center for Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, is offering adolescents a chance to play an iPad game as part of a study, which aims to evaluate the impact of playing games on the brain and behavior. The findings from the study could lead to new developments in using games as tools for training well-being.

The Center has collaborated with UW–Madison’s Games+Learning+Society Center to develop the games used in this study. Game design is informed by neuroscience and education research.

Adolescent research subjects will be asked to complete computer tasks in our lab, undergo two MRI scans and be randomly assigned to play a game. The results of the study will help scientists determine how games can impact well-being during adolescence and determine the effectiveness of using games as a training tool.

"Our aim is to investigate whether time spent on gaming could be used for constructive purposes and to take advantage of the natural inclination that young people have for this kind of technology."

Richard Davidson

The study sessions take place at the Waisman Center on the UW–Madison campus (1500 Highland Avenue, Madison, WI). Depending on the level of participation, families will receive up to $200. Adolescents who complete all components of the study will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win an iPad.

Parents or legal guardians of adolescents who are interested in participating in the study are encouraged to call (608) 262-5061 or send an email to schedule a screening appointment.

Video game play is a promising new field of educational research and practice. Video games offer a space where learning and training tasks can be made fun and challenging, and it gives students opportunities to be involved and immersed in the process of learning new skills and information in ways that are difficult or impossible with more traditional paradigms.

“By the time they reach the 8th grade, virtually every child in the Western world is playing smartphone apps, video games, computer games,” says Center Founder Richard Davidson. “Our aim is to investigate whether time spent on gaming could be used for constructive purposes and to take advantage of the natural inclination that young people have for this kind of technology."

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