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 peole 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


Professor and Chair of the Developmental Psychopathology department in the Behavioural Science Institute (BSI) at Radboud University.  

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

  • PhD-candidate interested in how and why applied games for mental health work.

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    PhD-Candidate

    Contact
  • Ken Koontz

    In house game designer, artist, producer and lover of games. I bring diversity, design experience and the NOISE!!!!

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    Creative Director

    Contact
  • Anouk Tuijnman

    Clinical child psychologist and PhD Candidate interested in gamedesign, -research and –play. Also known as: Game Night General; World Traveler; Pokémon Master.

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    PhD-Candidate

    Contact
  • Joanneke Weerdmeester

    Researcher, psychologist, PhD-candidate, gamer, language enthusiast and lover of all things nerdy.

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    PhD-Candidate

    Contact
  • Isabela Granic

    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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    Director of GEMH Lab

    Contact
  • Adam Lobel

    Postdoc @ University of Geneva. My favorite games tell emotionally rich stories and challenge me to think differently

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    Game Designer, Postdoc

    Contact
  • Hanneke Scholten

    Researcher, multidisciplinary 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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    PhD-Candidate

    Contact
  • Elke Schoneveld

    PhD-candidate and psychologist interested in the effect of games on mental health in youth. Likes why-questions, social impact and multidisciplinary collaboration. Bubbly, (not so crazy) cat lady and outdoor enthusiast.

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    PhD-Candidate

    Contact
  • Anna Lichtwarck-Aschoff

    Assistant Professor at the Developmental Psychopathology Department, mainly interested in general processes and principles of clinical change; mother of two wild boys.

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    Assistant Professor

    Contact
  • Lieke Wijnhoven

    Clinical therapist and external PhD-student at GGZ Oost Brabant and the Radboud University.

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    PhD-Candidate

    Contact
  • Marlou Poppelaars

    PhD Candidate passionate about psychopathology prevention, intrinsic motivation and the use of video games for this purpose. Loves to read, cook and making sure that bomb does not explode.

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    PhD-Candidate

    Contact
  • Marieke van Rooij

    Assistant prof. and data geek at the GEMH lab, dynamical modelling, personalisation, wants to put the I back into AI, news junkie, cat lover.

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    Assistant Professor

    Contact
  • Geert Verheijen

    Researcher with a focus on the social development of teens, interested in the effects of average, day-to-day video game use. enthusiastic board gamer & self-proclaimed institutional champion of Super Smash Brothers.

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    PhD-Candidate

    Contact
  • Anouk Poppelaars

    PhD candidate interested in using social regulation of emotion and multidisciplinary game design to promote mental health in youth. Disheveled multi-tasker and continuous provider of sugary snacks.

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    PhD-Candidate

    Contact
  • Babet Halberstadt

    PhD candidate with a background in neuroscience, now combining her love of gaming with her interest in the brain and human behaviour. Collector of useless skills, photographer, illustrator, and ukulele player.

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    PhD-Candidate

    Contact
  • Angela Schuurmans

    Researcher, writer, and photography addict. Loves animals and lives together with one dog, two bunnies, and eight chickens.

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    PhD Candidate

    Contact
  • Eva Alblas

    My research focuses on targeting obesity among adolescents, as this maintains to be a growing problem (World Health Organization, 2000).

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    PhD-Candidate

    Contact
  • Erik van den Berge

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

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    Game Designer

    Contact
  • Tom Hollenstein

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

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    Associate Professor - Collaborator

    Contact
  • Nastasia Griffioen

    Nerd, loves the brain even more than your average zombie, into etymology and reading, wants to explore information sampling in depression using neuro and computational methods.

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    PhD-Candidate

    Contact
  • Evan Hirsch

    Managing Partner of a consortium of business, creative and applied research leaders that help clients achieve strategic growth through innovation and development of successful creative and product organizations.

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    Executive Creative Director - Collaborator

    Contact
  • Abele Michela

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

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    PhD-Candidate

    Contact
  • Jan Brammer

    Brains, bytes, and bikes.

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    PhD-Candidate

    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.

visit their website

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.

visit their website

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. 

visit their website

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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Latest Projects View all projects

  • Project Lead Category Project Status
    Hanneke Scholten Substance Abuse Recruitment

    Designing and Testing a Video Game to Help Youth Quit Smoking

    About the project

    Smoking is one of the leading public health problems in the world. Currently, there is no evidence-based intervention program available to help youth and young adults quit smoking. Besides the lack of high-quality research, recruitment and retention of youth and young adults are two of the most challenging aspects of the implementation and evaluation of smoking cessation interventions. We argue that limitations in current smoking cessation interventions for youth can be maximally addressed by using video games as interventions. In the current project a video game will be developed and tested on its effectiveness and mechanisms of change to help youth and young adults quit smoking.

    view this project

  • Project Lead Category Project Status
    Joanneke Weerdmeester Anxiety Data Collection

    Biofeedback Videogames for Anxiety Regulation

    About the project

    This project aims to develop and assess the use of biofeedback videogames to help youth cope with stress and anxiety. In addition it aims to identify physiological markers and patterns of emotion regulation. The current studies within this project focus on exploring the potential of the virtual reality biofeedback game DEEP where players use deep diaphragmatic breathing to move through a beautiful underwater world.

    view this project

  • Project Lead Category Project Status
    Elke Schoneveld Anxiety Writing Dissertation

    MindLight - Childhood Anxiety Prevention

    About the project

    Many children have difficulties with fearful situations and are anxious. Interventions can help to teach children to cope effectively with anxiety-inducing situations. In our project, we rigorously tested whether an intervention in the form of a video game (MindLight) is effective in significantly reducing anxiety symptoms in children 8-12 years old. We did this by comparing MindLight to 1) a commercial game and 2) the gold-standard, cognitive-behavioural therapy for anxiety (Coping Cat). Furthermore, we aim to evaluate the reasons for why MindLight is effective (e.g., what kinds of mechanics work) and for whom (e.g., age and gender differences).

    view this project

RESEARCHERS

 

Do you want to play a virtual reality game that you can control with your own breath?

Then click below to learn more about "Take a DEEP Breath"!


Participate

PUBLIC

 

NEW Perspectives|OLD Challenges

We are excited to work with professionals from different industries, please contact us to discuss creating new playful and meaningful experiences toward improving mental and emotional health.



Collaborate