Motivation game mechanics for Behavior Change – Health Social Games

In the US and Canada, approximately 66% of adults–more than 160 million people–are overweight. Obesity-related healthcare costs are over $123B/year in the US and Canada. Nowadays, it is very easy to drift into unhealthy habits, such as eating unhealthy food or going for weeks with no or little physical activity. This is particularly due to the easy access to cheap high calorie foods and little requirement for physical exercise. These habits are very hard to break. However, recently, researchers have started exploring the potential utility of social networks and games in inducing behavior change, and potentially breaking some habits. In order to use the power of games and social networks, however, researchers need to understand the systems that make games engaging and appealing. This project explores the power of real-time behavior tracking and selective information visualization as a motivational tactic to influence behavior change.

Collaborators: IgnitePlay, Vancouver, BC, Canada
PhD Student: Simon Fraser University (Terry Lavender and Natalie Funk)

Publications:

Magy Seif El-Nasr, Lisa Andres, Terry Lavender, Natalie Funk, Nasim Jahangir, and Mengting Sun. IgnitePlay: Encouraging and Sustaining Healty Living through Social Games. International Games and Innovation Conference, 2011. [ pdf ]

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