Geek Therapy
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Geek Therapy
How Geek Culture is saving the world. Can geeky, nerdy, and techy things help heal the world? Absolutely. | For the Geek Therapy Podcast and more, visit http://www.geektherapy.com.
Curated by Josué Cardona
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Game Could Improve ADHD Diagnoses and Treatment

Game Could Improve ADHD Diagnoses and Treatment | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it

CogCubed was founded by a husband-and-wife team: game developer Kurt Roots and child psychiatrist Monika Heller. Their goal is to use sensor technology to produce objective data about symptoms that are often hard to pin down, such as inattentiveness and hyperactivity.

Josué Cardona's insight:

If you have ever taken or seen ADHD testing, this should make a lot of sense.

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Navy Doc and Combat Psychologist Write Graphic Novel For Corpsmen

Navy Doc and Combat Psychologist Write Graphic Novel For Corpsmen | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it

As San Diego's Naval Health Research Center chief scientist for behavioral health in the Behavioral Science and Epidemiology Department, Dr. Jerry Larson realized that warrior is an increasingly common role for corpsmen, and saw the need to deliver information that would help psychologically prepare corpsmen for the stress of active combat.

 

But how best to deliver this information to corpsmen? After some thought, he concluded it could best be done by the the modern storytelling method of a graphic novel. Graphic novels, which are so popular these days among young adults but have not been utilized to date by the military, tell stories with art in a traditional comic format, but have a 'beginning, middle, and end' like traditional novels. Larson says he chose this format specifically for its appeal to the targeted age group and its value in providing thought-provoking content for discussion in training scenarios.

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Shadow Quill 's curator insight, July 31, 2013 2:20 AM

Wonderful use of graphic novels to help the military

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"Kiddio" App May Help Parents Get Kids to Eat More Vegetables

"Kiddio" App May Help Parents Get Kids to Eat More Vegetables | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it

When complete, "Kiddio: Food Fight!" will give parents of preschoolers a fun, interactive way to learn some of the best approaches for getting their kids to eat more vegetables, according to Tom Baranowski, who leads the team that is developing the app.

 

The videogame project, funded by the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and a grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, will draw upon five studies that the Houston scientists have conducted over the past decade. These studies, involving thousands of parents, kids, and nutrition-related professionals, are examples of what has become known as "behavioral nutrition," a comparatively new scientific discipline that has roots in both psychology and nutrition.

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Virtual Reality: A New Therapy for PTSD

Virtual Reality: A New Therapy for PTSD | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it

Researchers at the University of California and a Pasadena counseling center for first-responders have hit upon the idea of using virtual reality -- computer simulations -- not only to treat the emotional ravages of war and catastrophe, but also to try to prevent them. As post-traumatic stress disorder -- the scourge of battle-weary warriors -- reaches epidemic proportions, the nation's fascination with video games is about to propel PTSD therapy into an entirely new dimension.

 

Headington's research has focused, in part, on dissecting the physiological causes and symptoms of post-traumatic stress, using sophisticated monitoring devices to track changes in body chemistry and the effectiveness of coping strategies.

 

Part of the program is a repair effort, to help victims of PTSD get over it by putting them back into terrifying situations -- only this time in a safe "virtual" environment where they can learn to rein in their emotions without the crushing pressure of actual threat.

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The Perfected Self: Behavioral Technology and the unlikely comeback of B.F. Skinner's Ideas

The Perfected Self: Behavioral Technology and the unlikely comeback of B.F. Skinner's Ideas | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it

Behavioral technology allows users to gradually and permanently alter all kinds of behavior, from reducing their energy use to controlling their spending. Now, with the help of our iPhones and a few Facebook friends, we can train ourselves to lead healthier, safer, eco-friendlier, more financially secure, and more productive lives.

 

Ironically, this high-tech behavioral revolution is rooted in the work of a mid-century psychologist once maligned as morally bankrupt, even fascist. But the rise of social media has reoriented our societal paranoias, and more and more people are incorporating his theories into their daily lives. As a result, psychology’s most misunderstood visionary may finally get his due.

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Books for Troops: Comics best medicine for troops

Books for Troops: Comics best medicine for troops | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it
Empowered by her experience, Keegan wanted to share her "medicine for the mind" with U.S. military service members abroad.

In 2010, she founded the nonprofit Books for Troops, which has collected and mailed many thousands of paperbacks and magazines to service members serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Keegan formed the program in her garage. It's based on a simple premise: reading material can help ease the loneliness, stress and fear that some service members feel while under duress.

 

Lt. Bob Smith, a combat medic from New Orleans, told Keegan the comics helped distract him from the problems in Afghanistan and made him think of his childhood and home.

"The collection of comics is just what the doctor ordered," Smith wrote. "If you are able to send more like that, just know my team would be anxious to receive as much as you can send."

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Canadian military to test PTSD video therapy

Canadian military to test PTSD video therapy | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it
CBC News has learned that the Canadian military has decided to use "virtual reality therapy" in a pilot project to treat post-traumatic stress disorder.

 

The new therapy method puts soldiers in a computer-animated situation that recreates the specific incident that left the soldiers traumatized. A therapist then helps the soldiers to work through their memories.

 

It is estimated that 17 per cent of Canadian soldiers who did dangerous patrols outside of their base in Afghanistan, and who are now home, are reporting symptoms of PTSD.

 

Dr. Rakesh Jetley says virtual reality therapy is a new and promising tool in the treatment of PTSD. 


The Canadian Forces says the therapy seems to appeal to a younger generation of soldiers comfortable with video games.

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How Kinect Cameras Are Being Used to Help Detect Autism in Children

How Kinect Cameras Are Being Used to Help Detect Autism in Children | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it
In an instance of Kinect being used for more than just video games, researchers are exploring how it might help detect autism in kids.
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'SPARX': the game that treats depression

'SPARX': the game that treats depression | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it
Every year thousands of teenagers suffering from mild to moderate depression don't get the help they need for any of a number of reasons: lack of services and support, isolation from mental health services, the high cost of treatment, or embarrassment. A video game might change that.

 

Developed by the University of Auckland in partnership with Metia Interactive, SPARX is a fantasy role-playing game designed to teach young people suffering from depression ways they can manage and overcome their condition. The game was proven successful in trials and the results have been published in the British Medical Journal last month.

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The psychology of superheroes

The psychology of superheroes | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it
Psychologist Robin Rosenberg has extensively studied psychological phenomena revealed by superheroes and has written and edited several books about superhero psychology, including the upcoming Superhero Origins: What Makes Superheroes Tick and Why We Care. She says superheroes are often admired, not just for their power, but because they can offer a moral example to live by.
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Tetris Shown to Lessen PTSD and Flashbacks

Tetris Shown to Lessen PTSD and Flashbacks | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it
The visual-spatial demands of playing Tetris disrupt the formation of the mental imagery involved in flashbacks...

 

Researchers are now corroborating what some trauma sufferers have happened upon by chance: Focusing on a highly engaging visual-spatial task, such as playing video games, may significantly reduce the occurrence of flashbacks, the mental images concerning the trauma that intrude on the sufferer afterward.

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How a Computer Game Is Reinventing the Science of Expertise

How a Computer Game Is Reinventing the Science of Expertise | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it

If there is one general rule about the limitations of the human mind, it is that we are terrible at multitasking... But clear exceptions challenge that general rule.

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The question now tantalizing psychologists is whether the rest of us can learn anything from these hyper-specialized multitasking gamers. Perhaps we, too, can accomplish some 300 things each minute—such productivity! Maybe we can learn to pick up new skills faster or use such games to stave off aging.

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Early results suggest that gamers may have faster visual reaction times, enhanced visuomotor coordination, and heightened ability to visualize spatial arrangements. They may also be better at rotating an object in their minds and may distinguish more deftly between the trajectories of moving objects. Players might also have an edge when paying attention to several objects at once.

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Exploring the Pain of Depression in Webcomics

Exploring the Pain of Depression in Webcomics | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it

But what makes Depression Comix and Hyperbole and a Half different is that they bring the reader up close to the depressed mind and shout, "Hey! This is what it's like in here!" They've put words and pictures behind something that is incredibly difficult to articulate. For folks who have suffered from depression or are currently suffering from depression, the benefit is twofold. First, there is the ever-important sense of kinship, the realization that someone else understands the very thing that you are going through and that you aren't completely alone.

 

On top of that, these comics can help non-depressed folks who may understand depression at an intellectual level understand it at an emotional one as well. After all, it's easy enough to talk about neurotransmitters and decreased serotonin; it's far more difficult to get at the meat of what makes depression so devastating.

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This Video Game Helps Kids Deal With Mental Health Issues

This Video Game Helps Kids Deal With Mental Health Issues | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it

gNats Island is designed to help adolescents overcome negative thoughts, anxiety, and depression. The graphic, character-based game is based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.


On the "island," players "meet" the negative automatic thoughts in the form of pesky "gNats" that have a "nasty sting." The Black and White gNat makes you think in extremes. The Complete Disaster gNat makes you think everything is a complete disaster, and so on. Almost 750 therapists in the U.S., Ireland and the UK have been trained to use the game with their young patients. 

Josué Cardona's insight:

A six-week treatment option which uses a CBT-based video game at its core. The game is played in sessions alongside a trained therapist.

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vyvyan's comment, September 9, 2013 2:21 AM
positive effect
robyns tut's curator insight, September 26, 2013 4:42 AM

when technology gets into a person's head for a good reason; I feel that this is true progress - Justine Pearce

robyns tut's comment, October 7, 2013 8:49 AM
this is such a clever idea its using technology to help people! awesome -shannon wilson
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New generation of virtual humans helping to train psychologists

New generation of virtual humans helping to train psychologists | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it

New technology has led to the creation of virtual humans who can interact with therapists via a computer screen and realistically mimic the symptoms of a patient with clinical psychological disorders, according to new research presented at the American Psychological Association's 120th Annual Convention.

 

"As this technology continues to improve, it will have a significant impact on how clinical training is conducted in psychology and medicine," said psychologist and virtual reality technology expert Albert "Skip" Rizzo, PhD, who demonstrated recent advancements in virtual reality for use in psychology.


Virtual humans can now be highly interactive, artificially intelligent and capable of carrying on a conversation with real humans, according to Rizzo, a research scientist at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies. "This has set the stage for the 'birth' of intelligent virtual humans to be used in clinical training settings," he said.

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Video games help autistic students in classrooms

Video games help autistic students in classrooms | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it
Researchers are studying if off-the-shelf video games can spark a breakthrough in treating autism.

 

Can off-the-shelf video games spark a breakthrough in treating autism? That's the question researchers are asking as educators quietly discover the therapeutic uses of motion-controlled sensors. The devices are popular with gamers: Microsoft this week said it had sold more than 19 million Kinect motion-sensor units since introducing it in November 2010.

 

Now autism researchers, teachers and therapists are installing them in classrooms and clinics, reporting promising results for a fraction of the price of typical equipment. Could a teacher armed with a $300 Xbox and a $10 copy of Double Fine Happy Action Theater do as much good as months of intensive therapy?


"Nobody thought of it as a therapeutic device," said Marc Sirkin of Autism Speaks, a New York-based advocacy group. Earlier this spring, when he first got wind of computer engineering students at the University of Michigan hacking the Kinect to develop autism games, he bought a ticket on a red-eye flight to see for himself. "It turns out you don't have to look very far, you don't have to scratch very deep, to go, 'Wait a minute. There's something really cool here.' "

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Mobile App Helps Service Members Adjust to Life After Combat

The Department of Defense recently announced the release of a mobile application that helps service members reacclimate to life at home after returning from combat deployments.

 

Positive Activity Jackpot, developed by the National Center for Telehealth and Technology, uses augmented reality with a smart phone’s GPS to help find nearby activities and diversions for someone accustomed to the high tempo of combat life.

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Role of Video Games in Improving Health-Related Outcomes

Role of Video Games in Improving Health-Related Outcomes | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it

Certain video games may be useful tools for psychological and physical therapy, according to University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine researchers who reviewed randomized controlled trials that tested the ability of video games to improve or promote health outcomes. 

 

In the 38 studies identified, the researchers examined a total of 190 health outcomes and found that video games improved 69 percent of psychological therapy outcomes, 59 percent of physical therapy outcomes, 50 percent of physical activity outcomes, 46 percent of clinician skills outcomes, 42 percent of health education outcomes, 42 percent of pain distraction outcomes and 37 percent of disease self-management outcomes.

 

A video describing the study is posted at http://www.scivee.tv/node/48059.

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New Emerging Field of Video Game Psychology

Psychology is taking video games into a whole new direction and along with positive reinforcements, behavioral modification, affection, and engaging simulations, video games are changing the way we play games. This new area of social science is being referred to as Video Game Psychology; a new and emerging mix that takes what used to be solely for entertainment purposes and into a life-altering and rehabilitating phenomenon. We will take a look at research in this new and emerging field and witness the impact and its future possibilities.

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Virtual Therapists: The army's new weapon in the war against depression

Virtual Therapists: The army's new weapon in the war against depression | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it
The mental health of our fighting men and women is a top concern, but the army's newest tool to help diagnose conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression is quite curious indeed. Meet SIM Sensei, the virtual therapist for soldiers.

 

How does the new therapy system work? A soldier in need of assistance can walk into a clinic without an appointment, enter a private computer booth, and sign on to the SIM Sensei system. That soldier can then talk to a 3D rendering of a human being for guidance.

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Psychology Study: For Enjoyment, Slow Down

People rush through experiences not necessarily because they lack self-control but because they simply don’t realize that slowing down consumption leads to more pleasure, a study finds.

 

The researchers proved this hypothesis using several different stimuli, including Hershey’s Kisses and video games.

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What are therapy apps?

What are therapy apps? | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it

A group of scientists are now planning to develop an app for smartphones that allows users instant access to psychological therapy on the go. They have been testing simple programs that follow the video game format to see if the process would really work in relieving people of common anxiety and depression. Since the results were encouraging, they now want to develop those same programs into sophisticated apps for Android users.

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Action Video Games Improve Attention, Study Says

Action Video Games Improve Attention, Study Says | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it
Letting your children have a little “Call of Duty time” might not be such a bad thing, a new study suggests.

After an hour or two of playing shooter-based action video games, kids improve their visual attention compared to those who play puzzle games, researchers from the University of Toronto find. Students who play shooter games are better able to single out items in their visual field and better able to focus and suppress distraction, the study shows.
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Blogging as Therapy for Teenagers - Studied

Blogging as Therapy for Teenagers - Studied | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it
Research has long backed the therapeutic value of diary-keeping for teenage girls and boys. But according to a new study, when teenagers detail their woes onto a blog, the therapeutic value is even greater. Blogging, it seems, can be good for you.

 

The study, published in the journal Psychological Services and conducted by Meyran Boniel-Nissim and Azy Barak, psychology professors at the University of Haifa, Israel, found the engagement with an online community allowed by the blog format made it more effective in relieving the writer’s social distress than a private diary would be.

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Psychologist Uses Superhero Comics to Treat His Patients

Psychologist Uses Superhero Comics to Treat His Patients | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it

Dr. O'Connor practices at Southeast Psych in Charlotte, NC, where he's developed an unusual way to address his patients' needs. O'Connor sometimes asks patients to read and discuss comic books to help patients verbalize and process their own decisions and emotions.

 

... O'Connor says that while he uses his comic therapy primarily with adolescents, it's also helped people in their 30s and 40s deal with everything from social anxiety to mood disorders. And, while his patients want to read more Marvel comics, he finds DC works best for therapy...

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