Posts Tagged ‘research’

Schizophrenia patients helped by videogame in early research study

schizophreniaheader

My job, you’ll be surprised to hear, involves an awful lot of thinking about videogames. I think about them as toys, as pieces of art, as arenas for competition and, if I’m feeling pretentious, as tools for expanding my mind. What I don’t often get to do is think about them as part of a medical treatment.

In a small study, researchers have found that schizophrenia patients can learn to control the part of their brain linked to verbal hallucinations by playing a videogame. While inside an MRI scanner, the participants were shown a rocket that responded to changes in the speech sensitive region of their brain. Almost all of the 12 participants managed to safely land the rocket by employing their own mental strategies, using feedback from the game to manage their verbal hallucinations.

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Riot Teams Up With MIT To Investigate.. Uh.. Teams

Look, I'm not used to drawing things when they have clothes on

Riot are teaming up with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as part of their research into player behaviour and teamwork. This time they’re looking to explore “the ability of a team to perform a wide range of collaborative tasks” and want your help.

Posting on the League of Legends forums, Jeffrey Lin (lead designer of social systems) explained a little more about what will be involved in the online study and to seek out participants.

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Study Shows No Harmful Impact From Gaming On Children

A paper published this year (pdf) by the University Of Glasgow (and only just spotted by us and everyone else) looked at whether playing videogames at 5 years old brought about any behavioural changes by the time the subjects were 7. And found there none. In fact, it found that while they could measure an extremely small difference when it came to more time spent in front of the television, perhaps surprisingly, the same wasn’t shown to be true of gaming. Of course, as is always the case, it’s well worth asking “why?” before marching down the street sounding trumpets. Let’s take a look.

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Playing Games For The Good Of Humanity, With Phylo

Science!
Hopefully you remember FoldIt, the protein manipulating game that instantly solved years-old biological puzzles. It’s probably the most well known example of a crowd-sourced citizen science project that had immediately remarkable success. It’s in this same field that Phylo exists – a game designed to sequence genomes, while the player is enjoying some fairly familiar match-3-style colour matching. I spoke to designer Jerome Waldispuhl, Assistant Professor at the School of Computer Science McGill University, Montreal, to find out how it is that fun can be recycled into progress. This is gaming literally changing the world, perhaps even saving lives.

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MANFACE: Perfecting CG Spotty Skin

Imperfect makes for perfect. My head is spinning.
The battle of Uncanny Valley is where CGI finally triumphed over reality: pixels stood proudly over humans showing off their parametrization maps and tone mapping that accurately depicted the imperfection of human skin and declared victory over reality. The first shot in the war fired when researcher Jorge Jimenez released this work on real-time realistic skin rendering, showing off the difference SSSS (Sexy Separable Subsurface Scattering – okay, I added that first ‘S’) makes.
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Fantasy And Reality: Can Gamers Tell?

Here's me on my holidays.

Did you know that you can’t tell reality from fantasy? No, I’m not a twenty-foot dragon from Saturn, silly! I’m a human. But you can’t tell. I know this because the Metro told me so. According to the free rag, Nottingham Trent university researchers have revealed that gamers get so immersed in fantasy that they are unable to distinguish the real world. So this must be based on a broad, far-reaching study for the paper to make such a statement, right? No of course not. It’s an interview study of 42 people. Which I’ve now read. And has nothing to do with the Metro’s conclusions. So obviously I’m going to take issue with the Metro’s coverage, but then get a little bit deeper when taking issue with the paper itself.

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PC Gamers Save The World, A Bit

Well, this is all perfectly clear.

Perhaps you’re not familiar with the search for the molecular structure of a protein-cutting enzyme from an AIDS-like virus found in rhesus monkeys. But groups of scientists have been trying to fathom this mystery for years. And it’s just been cracked by PC gamers.

Why is this exciting? Because it’s believed that this information could be crucial to better figuring out how the AIDS virus works, and how it can be tackled. The findings, discovered via the game Foldit, are published online ahead of the next issue of Nature: Structural & Molecular Biology, with the authorship listing both scientists and gamers.

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