Modifying Behavior Through Video Games

Jul 21

If you haven’t already heard, The Let’s Move! campaign, started by First Lady Michelle Obama, is working towards the goal of eliminating childhood obesity.  The campaign takes an approach that works through engaging multiple audiences, including children.  As part of the campaign, the First Lady has challenged gamers and inventors across the nation to create a video game app would help children and their parents eat healthily and become more physically active. 

And the First Lady is not alone.  Utilizing video games to encourage positive, healthier behaviors is a trend that appears to be on the rise.  Just as young children can use video games to learn math and reading skills, it appears as though people of all ages might also be able to learn the importance of exercise or calorie intake through gaming.  Adam Penenberg interviewed neuroeconomist Dr. Paul Zak recently for Fast Company on this very topic.  Dr. Zak felt that casual social games, such as those on Facebook, can truly modify behavior and that by focusing on small actions and using small amounts of motivation, behavior can be modified.   

So what are your thoughts?  Do you think our actions can truly be modified through games?  Why not see for yourself?  The Let’s Move! apps have all been submitted and you can now test them out and vote for your favorite at http://go.usa.gov/OI8.  Who knows, maybe one will have you rethinking that big piece of chocolate cake!

This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 21st, 2010 at 10:42 am and is filed under Behavior Change, Public Health. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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