The Virtual World challenges
facing mental health research
The challenges health professionals face in using virtual worlds have more to do with the commercial cost of developing serious games or health purpose virtual worlds rather than with the quality of the environments being delivered over the internet or through off-the-shelf games, according to Dr Andrew Campbell, an Australian researcher in Cyberpsychology.
In a wide-ranging interview with Lowell Cremorne, of The Metaverse Journal, the director of the Prometheus Research Team at the University of Sydney, said that in addition to this, research, looking at how immersive environments could be used to tackle problems in health, behaviour and education, was facing a health professional vs tech industry challenge in trying to effectively harness the ideas for scientifically-based delivery of health interventions.
“In short,” Campbell (pictured left) said, “the health professionals need to learn more about the tech industry and vice versa. Once this bridge is finally built, I believe we will be entering a new error of technology consumerism – games for wellbeing and ICT for personal health management.”
Campbell’s primary job is an academic researcher and teacher in the field of Psychology, particularly Cyberpsychology, which is the study of how technology is impacting human behaviour, both in good and bad ways. Secondly, he is a general practice psychologist who specialises in child and adolescent mental health and behavioural problems. His clinical work is focused on treating children with ADD/ADHD, anxiety and depression, conduct problems, as well as parental counselling and family therapy.
His fascinating interview with Cremorne covers gaming and violence and addiction and the often-hidden benefits of video games – “parents themselves do not know anything about the games their children are playing” .
Based on his experience he is dismissive of the anecdotal direct causative link between the regular playing of violent games and violent real-life behaviour.
“Playing a violent game is no more likely to trigger someone’s violent behaviour than eating your favourite food is going to motivate you to become a chef,” he told Cremorne.
Conversely a number of studies of gaming, he said, had shown wonderful results through helping people to ameliorate either behaviour or, in some cases, the management of pain.
This is only a very limited taste of the full interview which you should read here.
Filed under: Education, Education in virtual worlds, SL Medicine, Video Gaming, Virtual Worlds Tagged: | ADD/ADHD, Andrew Campbell, cyberpsychology, Lowell Cremorne, mental health, Prometheus Research Team, The Metaverse Journal, University of Sydney