Our Approach

We are social scientists with a strong foundation in developmental science, clinical psychology and affective neuroscience. We are committed to designing and empirically evaluating an entirely novel prevention and treatment approach for young people's emotional and mental health, an approach that harnesses the intrinsically motivating properties of video games and their immense potential to teach new forms of thought and behaviour. We test the impact of already-commercialized video games as well as games we co-develop ourselves. Ultimately, we want to engage and empower young people to choose the interactive media experiences that best fit with their self-expressed emotional needs and to share those experiences with friends and family that might likewise benefit. 


Who We Are

Designing, testing and implementing effective, commercial-grade games for young people's emotional and mental health is a complex initiative that requires diverse expertise. We are a one-of-a-kind multidisplinary lab and extended network that incorporates senior faculty, PhD students and international award-winning game designers. There are virtually no validated games that target mental health issues. We are among the first team forging this new ground, with artists, programmers and designers working alongside graduate students in developmental psychopathology, clinical psychology and education. More information on the talented individuals that make up the GEMH lab and the varied PhD and design projects can be found below.

Dr. Isabela Granic - Director of GEMH Lab

Industry professor McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada.  

To learn more about Dr. Granic and/or to inquire about possible collaborations, please click here.

Research

We are a research and development lab that aims to establish the scientific foundations for effective mental health games. We empirically validate our games with rigorous research designs, we share our data publicly, and publish our results regardless of outcomes. We are also committed to developing a theoretical framework and new methodologies that stipulate how to use games to experimentally test theories of psychological change.

DIG DEEPER...PARTICIPANTS

Design

Our international partners include developmental psychologists, neuroscientists, veteran game developers, and artists whose objective is to harness the power of play to transform children's emotional lives. We co-design game experiences based on empirically validated principles, together with clinicians, parents and children themselves.

GAMES COLLABORATE

Our people

  • Isabela Granic
    Director of GEMH Lab

    Professor and Chair of the Developmental Psychopathology department in the Behavioural Science Institute; writer; voracious podcast consumer; mother of two upstanding little gamers

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    Professor at McMaster's University

    Contact
  • Hanneke Scholten
    Co-Director of GEMH Lab

    Researcher, interdisciplinary work and collaboration, wants to understand the how's and why's, loves her high heels and coffee in the morning, walks and talks too fast.

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    Assistant Professor at University of Twente

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  • Ken Koontz
    Creative Director of GEMH Lab

    GEEK, Game designer, artist, producer, anime and video game enthusiast, American football player, and as of recently a newb gardener. I'm pretty much always down for new ventures and experiences - O' ley do it!

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    Founder of Koontz Interactive

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  • Nastasia Griffioen
    Operations Manager of GEMH Lab

    Nerd, is fascinated by the brain even more than your average zombie, into etymology and reading, drawn to anything tech-related, especially artificial intelligence. Wants to explore social tech (such as social media) and how these relate to young people's wellbeing.

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    Post Doctorate

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  • Joanneke Weerdmeester
    Behavioral Scientist at GEMH Lab

    Researcher, psychologist, PhD-candidate, gamer, dungeon master, language enthusiast and lover of all things geeky.

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    Self-Employed Consultant

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  • Steven Ma
    KT Officer at GEMH Lab

    Steven holds an MSc from the London School of Economics (LSE) and a BSc from McMaster University.

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    Knowledge Translation Researcher

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  • Isabelle Kniestedt
    Project Manager at GEMH Lab

    As a creator, researcher, and teacher, I bring together skills from academia and development to explore the ways in which games can contribute to society.

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    Independent developer, teacher at GLU

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  • Erik van den Berge
    Game Designer at GEMH Lab

    Game developer, VR-guru, mocap artist, animator, video editor and all-round problem solver. Avid gamer, movie lover and dabbling photographer.

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    Technical Support Group Specialist

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  • Suhaavi Kochhar
    Researcher at GEMH Lab

    Researcher, PhD candidate, passionate plant mom, fitness buff, people person, suffers from an optimism bias, ESFJ and enneagram type 2. Especially keen on translational science; it's time we burst the bubble!!!

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    PhD-Candidate

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  • Abele Michela
    Researcher at GEMH Lab

    Phd student working on a training program for Dutch Police incorporating Virtual Reality and Biofeedback.

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    PhD-Candidate

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  • Aniek Wols
    Researcher at GEMH Lab

    I am interested in how and why applied games for mental health work, with a specific focus on the influence of one's mindset, motivation and expectations.

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    PhD-Candidate

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  • Tom Hollenstein
    Collaborator

    Associate Professor in Developmental Psychology at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

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    Associate Professor at Queen's University

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  • Evan Hirsch
    Collaborator

    I work with clients to design ecosystems, adapt bleeding edge research and develop end-to-end strategies that help improve the lives of their patients, practitioners and users.

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    Staff Vice President, Design and UX at Anthem, Inc.

    Contact
At the end of the day we are all a bunch of 1337 nerds trying to use our powers for good ...

and taking over the world, whichever comes first!

┌( ಠ_ಠ)┘      ☜-(ΘLΘ)-☞       ╘[◉﹃◉]╕
3%

Amount of pizza left after a GEMH Lab Game Night

75%

Female Game researchers in the GEMH Lab

100%

F.U.N.

Funding

About the funder

The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research supports a strong system of sciences in the Netherlands by encouraging quality and innovation in science. Our conviction is that scientific research contributes to our prosperity and well-being and that it provides for our growing need for knowledge: for facing societal challenges, for economic development and to better understand ourselves and the world.

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About the funder

The ERC operates according to a "curiosity-driven", or "bottom-up", approach, allowing researchers to identify new opportunities in any field of research. Accordingly the portfolio ERC funded projects spans a wide range of topics and research questions.

Since 2007, more than 6,500 projects have been selected to receive ERC funding throughout the EU Member States and the associated countries. The ERC has received over 62,000 project proposals for its calls.

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About the funder

ZonMw (The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development) funds health research in the Netherlands and promotes the actual use of the knowledge this research produces.   Our aim is to promote quality and innovation of health research in order to make health care better and to keep it affordable. 

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About the funder

GGZ Oost Brabant stands for "Personalized health care for you and your family".  We provide safe humane mental and emotional health care services for the citizens in the Brabant province of the Netherlands.  Working together with the client we are looking for the best solution, as far as possible, tailored to the personal situation.  Our help can be as simple and short, or as intensive and long-term as needed, but always accessible in the clinic, in the neighborhood or online, sometimes at home.

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About the funder

Do we inhabit a multiverse? Do we have free will? Is evolution directional? Are we immortal? Was the universe created? What is love? We share Sir John Templeton’s optimism about the power of the sciences and other discovery-oriented disciplines to advance our understanding of the deepest and most perplexing questions facing humankind

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About the funder

Joy Ventures is on a singular mission - to build and support companies developing science-backed consumer products that help people experience moments of everyday joy and improve their mental wellbeing.

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Latest Projects View all projects

  • Project Lead Category Project Status
    Isabela Granic Resilience Preparation

    Bloombox: A Toolkit for Creating Transformative Tech

    About the project

    Creating digital tech—whether it be videogames or apps—that makes a real impact on human flourishing is hard! Luckily, at the GEMH Lab we have amassed many lessons learned, tips, tricks and caveats over the years of our existence. All of which we aim to bring together in the Bloombox: a toolkit for creating transformative tech.

    view this project

  • Project Lead Category Project Status
    Abele Michela Behavior Regulation Writing Dissertation

    DUST: Decisions Under Stress Training - A Biofeedback Training in Virtual Reality for police officers

    About the project

    The work of a police officer can be seen as an evolutionary paradox: in places and situations where most people would fall prey to survival instincts of self-preservation, police officers ought to act calm, with proportionality and benevolence. This is why police officers need to train control over their responses to threat as much as possible. To enable this, we develop a virtual training environment with real-time biofeedback. We combine virtual reality and biofeedback to create a personalized, realistic training experience, while honing state-of-the-art technology and psychophysical theory.

    view this project

  • Project Lead Category Project Status
    Nastasia Griffioen Social Media Recruitment

    XCAVO: Realigning Your Digital Life

    About the project

    Digital media are designed to serve many different functions: socialising, working, building relationships, as well as playing and being entertained. In this project, we seek to understand the impact of different features of digital media, and help youth align what they value and love with what they do on digital platforms, in order to increase wellbeing and coherent identity development.

    view this project

RESEARCHERS

 

We Need Youth Advisors

Are you between ages 18-24 yrs old?
Earn compensation while working with game developers and researchers creating playful interactive media.



Click here to apply

PUBLIC

 

How can you play our Games?

If you are interested in learning more about how to access and/or play our games please contact us here so that we can best direct your inquiry.




Click here to send inquiry