Isabela Graniconline

Short bio

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

Top-3 games
  1. Journey
  2. Thumper
  3. Inside
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Real science studies and makes accessible that knowledge which people at that period of history think important, and real art transfers this truth from the domain of knowledge to the domain of feelings.

Leo Tolstoy

About me

I got my PhD at the University of Toronto in developmental psychology. I am currently a Professor and Chair of the Developmental Psychopathology department in the Behavioural Science Institute at Radboud University, in the Netherlands. My research focuses on the cognitive, emotional and social benefits of playing video games. By integrating clinical and developmental research with interactive media design, we are creating a suite of evidence-based games. These games can be used for intervention purposes, as well as to study emotion-regulation processes more rigorously, in contexts that are motivationally compelling for children. Critically, we are committed to commercially deploying our evidence-based games so that they can be widely disseminated, with unprecedented potential to slash the prevalence rates of anxiety and depression in youth. These same games can make an enormous impact in school settings where socio-emotional learning methods are being sought, yet so few validated games exist.

Projects I’ve worked on

  • Category
    Resilience
    Date
    01/02/2017
    Study/Course
    Location

    Can I Play Some More? Promoting Adolescent Wellbeing Through Engaging Video Games

    About the project

    Commercial video games may offer a cheap and readily available way to help us understand in what way video games can be used to promote adolescent wellbeing. Excellent targets for this are games that involve social interaction, encourage both positive and negative emotions and are identified by youth themselves as potentially beneficial. By letting youth play several commercial video games in different settings, we can learn how games interact with wellbeing in both short and long-term.

    view this project

  • Category
    Anxiety
    Date
    21/10/2017
    Study/Course
    Location

    Are Improvements in Anxiety Associated with How Children Play MindLight?

    About the project

    The video game MindLight has been found to be an effective anxiety prevention program (see project: MindLight - Childhood Anxiety Prevention). However, we don’t know whether the clinical techniques incorporated in the game were responsible for the observed changes in anxiety symptoms. In this project we examined how children play MindLight, to what extent they interact with the clinical techniques in the game and how that relates to their anxiety improvements.

    view this project

  • Category
    Gaming
    Date
    21/10/2017
    Study/Course
    Location

    Nonspecific factors in video games for mental health

    About the project

    More and more games are designed to promote mental health. If these games are found to be effective, it is important to investigate which factors are responsible for the improvements in mental health. Most often, this type of research focuses on the specific clinical techniques that were designed into the game. However, from the clinical literature it is known that, for instance, expectations, motivation, and one’s mindset about the malleability of symptoms play a major role in positive intervention outcomes. In my project I aim to investigate these nonspecific factors and examine how we can manipulate these factors in order to optimize video games for mental health.

    view this project

  • Category
    Anxiety
    Date
    21/10/2017
    Study/Course
    Location

    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

  • Category
    Anxiety
    Date
    21/10/2017
    Study/Course
    Location

    Gaming Against Anxiety: New Methodology for Personalized Game Interventions

    About the project

    Anxiety disorders are among the most common psychopathologies in children. This project investigates the effects of a biofeedback virtual reality game (DEEP) on breathing and anxiety-related symptoms in anxious children and develops new algorithms to detect changes in the player’s behavior during the game. The aim is to enable game interventions that are personalized to each individual child.

    view this project

  • Category
    Anxiety
    Date
    21/10/2017
    Study/Course
    Location

    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

  • Category
    Substance Abuse
    Date
    21/10/2017
    Study/Course
    Location

    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

  • Category
    Anxiety
    Date
    21/10/2017
    Study/Course
    Location

    The Effect of the Game "MindLight" on Anxiety Symptoms of Children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder

    About the project

    Because anxiety is an important cause of impairment for children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), it is necessary that effective anxiety interventions are implemented for these children. Recently, a serious game called "MindLight" has been developed that is focused on decreasing anxiety in children. It is expected that MindLight is an effective anxiety treatment for children with an autism spectrum disorder.

    view this project

  • Category
    Depression
    Date
    21/10/2017
    Study/Course
    Location

    Social Games as Prevention Tools for Depression in Young Adolescents

    About the project

    In my PhD project I study social games for the prevention of depression. In my project I take part in both the development and testing of games. I want to use video games to help youth become more emotionally resilient and to decrease the stigma that surrounds depression. I do this in close collaboration with other researchers and game designers. I am particularly interested in games that are played in a social context, because I believe that both social threat and social support are key factors in the development and maintenance of depression.

    view this project

  • Category
    Gaming
    Date
    21/10/2017
    Study/Course
    Location

    A Full-Body Videogame Intervention for Decreasing ADHD Symptoms

    About the project

    This project is focused on assessing the feasibility and effectiveness of a full-body-driven intervention videogame targeted at decreasing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms.

    view this project

  • Category
    Gaming
    Date
    21/10/2017
    Study/Course
    Location

    Gaming and Children's Psycho-Social Development

    About the project

    Despite widespread claims that video gaming is harmful for children's social and emotional development, hardly any research has tracked children over time to verify these claims. Moreover, such claims run contrary to the importance which psychologists have given to play. This project aimed to address these matters.

    view this project

My updates

  • 09
    March
    About the event

    Symposium: Serious Games en Cognitief Trainen

    Location

    Universiteit van Amsterdam

    prof. dr. Isabela Granic gives a talk at the Serious Games for Cognitive Training Symposium

  • 23
    March
    UNTILL
    25
    March
    About the event

    International Convention of Psychological Science

    Location

    Vienna, Austria

    A large group of GEMH Lab members will be presenting our various study findings in a series of symposia, talks and poster sessions. We'll be sharing our latest findings, our challenges, our breakthroughs and, of course, our games!

  • 07
    April
    UNTILL
    08
    April
    About the event

    Society for Research on Child Development (SRCD)

    Location

    Austin, Texas

    GEMH Lab will be at the most gigantic developmental conference in the world! Come see talks and posters showcasing our latest research findings.

  • 08
    June
    UNTILL
    10
    June
    About the event

    Jean Piaget Society

    Location

    Hilton San Francisco Financial District

    JPS 2017 this year focuses on the concept “technology", offering an analytic lens that will not become obsolete with the next new widget. We present a generative understanding of technology and human development by scholars with a diverse range of histories, perspectives, and research projects.

My publications

  • Videospellen: De Positieve Effecten

    Granic, I., Lobel, A., Poppelaars, M., & Engels, R. C. M. E. (2015). Kind en Adolescent, 36 (1), 1-22. doi:10.1007/s12453-014-0066-8

    Author: Marlou Poppelaars

    Upload date: 03-01-2015

  • A Randomized Controlled Trial Comparing Two Cognitive-Behavioral Programs for Adolescent Girls with Subclinical Depression: A School-Based Program (Op Volle Kracht) and a Computerized Program (SPARX)

    Poppelaars, M., Tak, Y. R., Lichtwarck-Aschoff, A., Engels, R. C. M. E., Lobel, A., Merry, S. N., Lucassen, M. F. G., & Granic, I. (2016). Behaviour Research and Therapy, 80, 33-42. doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2016.03.005

    Author: Marlou Poppelaars

    Upload date: 05-01-2016

  • Autonomous and Controlled Motivation in a Randomized Controlled Trial Comparing School-based and Computerized Depression Prevention Programs

    Poppelaars, M., Tak, Y. R., Lichtwarck-Aschoff, A., Engels, R. C. M. E., Lobel, A., Merry, S. N., Lucassen, M. F. G., & Granic, I. (2014). In Schouten, B., Fedtke, S., Schijven, M., Vosmeer, M. & Gekker, A. (Eds.), Games for Health 2014 (pp. 125-135). Germany: Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden. doi: 10.1007/978-3-658-07141-7_17

    Author: Marlou Poppelaars

    Upload date: 10-29-2014

  • DEEP: A Biofeedback Virtual Reality Game for Children At-risk for Anxiety

    van Rooij, M., Lobel, A., Harris, O., Smit, N., & Granic, I. (2016). CHI'16 Extended Abstracts, May 07-12, 2016, San Jose, CA, USA

    Author: Marieke van Rooij

    Upload date: 05-07-2016

  • A Randomized Controlled Trial to Test the Effectiveness of an Immersive 3D Video Game for Anxiety Prevention among Adolescents

    Scholten, H., Malmberg, M., Lobel, A., Engels, R. C. M. E., & Granic, I. (2016). PloS One, 11(1), e0147763. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0147763

    Author: Hanneke Scholten

    Upload date: 01-27-2016

  • The Sims: A Social Improvement Mechanism for Adolescents

    Lobel, A., Engels, R., Tuijnman, A., de Valk, T., & Granic, I. (2013, April). Poster presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Seattle, WA.

    Author: Adam Lobel

    Upload date: 04-15-2013

  • Designing and Utilizing Biofeedback Games for Emotion Regulation: The Case of Nevermind

    Lobel, A., Gotsis, M., Reynolds, E., Annetta, M., Engels, R. C.M.E., & Granic, I. (2016). CHI'16 Extended Abstracts, May 07-12, 2016, San Jose, CA, USA

    Author: Adam Lobel

    Upload date: 05-07-2016

  • Nevermind: Emotion Regulation in a Biofeedback Video Game

    Lobel, A., Gotsis, M., Reynolds, E., Annetta, M., Engels, R.C.M.E., & Granic, I. (2015). ESConS Neurogaming Conference. [Poster presentation].

    Author: Adam Lobel

    Upload date: 05-05-2015

  • Stressful Gaming, Interoceptive Awareness, and Emotion Regulation Tendencies: A Novel Approach

    Lobel, A., Granic, I., & Engels, R. C. (2014). Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 17, 222-227.

    Author: Adam Lobel

    Upload date: 04-03-2014

  • The Benefits of Playing Video Games

    Granic, I., Lobel, A., & Engels, R. C. (2014). American Psychologist, 69, 66-78.

    Author: Isabela Granic

    Upload date: 10-21-2017

  • A Neurofeedback Video Game (MindLight) to Prevent Anxiety in Children: A Randomized Controlled Trial

    Schoneveld, E. A., Malmberg, M., Lichtwarck-Aschoff, A., Verheijen, G. P., Engels, R. C., & Granic, I. (2016). Computers in Human Behavior, 63, 321-333.

    Author: Elke Schoneveld

    Upload date: 10-01-2016

  • Preventing Childhood Anxiety Disorders: Is an Applied Game as Effective as a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-Based Program?

    Schoneveld, E. A., Lichtwarck-Aschoff, A., & Granic, I. (2017). Prevention Science, 1-13.

    Author: Elke Schoneveld

    Upload date: 09-27-2017

  • The Effect of the Video Game Mindlight on Anxiety Symptoms in Children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder

    Wijnhoven, L. A. M. W., Creemers, D. H. M., Engels, R. C. M. E., Granic, I. (2015). BMC Psychiatry, 15:138.

    Author: Lieke Wijnhoven

    Upload date: 07-01-2015

  • A Feasibility Study on the Effectiveness of a Full-Body Videogame Intervention for Decreasing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms

    Weerdmeester, J., Cima, M., Granic, I., Hashemian, Y., & Gotsis, M. (2016). A Feasibility Study on the Effectiveness of a Full-Body Videogame Intervention for Decreasing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms. Games for Health Journal, 5(4), 258-269.

    Author: Joanneke Weerdmeester

    Upload date: 08-01-2016

  • Video Gaming and Children’s Psychosocial Wellbeing: A Longitudinal Study

    Lobel, A., Engels, R. C.M.E., Stone, L. L., Burk, W., & Granic, I. (2017). 46, 884-897.

    Author: Adam Lobel

    Upload date: 02-21-2017

  • Associations Between Children's Video Game Playing and Psychosocial Health: Information from Both Parent and Child Reports

    Lobel, A., Granic, I., Stone, L. L., & Engels, R. C.M.E. (2014). Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 17, 639-643

    Author: Adam Lobel

    Upload date: 10-01-2014

  • “Dojo”: A Videogame Intervention for Youths with Externalizing Problems and Anxiety. [A Pilot Study]

    Schuurmans, A. T., Nijhof, K. S., Vermaes, I. P. R., Engels, R. C. M. E., & Granic, I. (2015). “Dojo”: a Videogame Intervention for Youths with Externalizing Problems and Anxiety. A Pilot Study. Games for Health Journal, 4, 401-408.

    Author: Angela Schuurmans

    Upload date: 10-01-2015

Worked together with

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

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PhD-Candidate

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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

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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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Joanneke Weerdmeester

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

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PhD-Candidate

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Lieke Wijnhoven

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

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PhD-Candidate

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Babet Halberstadt

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

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PhD-Candidate

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Laurie Buitenhuis

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Research Master's Student

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Shengnan Chen

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Research Master's Student

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Rutger Engels

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Chairman at Trimbos Instituut

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Niki Smit

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Game Designer & Artist

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Owen Harris

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Game Designer, Teacher & Human

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Maartje Luijten

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Assistant Professor

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Daan Creemers

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Research Coordinator

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Toon Cillessen

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Research Director - Behavioural Science Institute

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Marientina Gotsis

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Research Assistant Professor

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Marloes Kleinjan

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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

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Lisanne Stone

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Senior Researcher at Centre for Anxiety Disorders

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William Burk

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Assistant Professor

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Andrea Samson

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Senior Researcher - Swiss Center for Affective Sciences

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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

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Moniek Buijzen

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Professor

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Jonathan van 't Riet

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Assistant Professor

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