Remote psychological advice.
The unit executing this project will make and sell the module, and keep a centralized data analysis center.
This center will have several roles:
– to collect the encrypted files sent by the users
– to keep statistics on them, taking into account geographical, ethnic, cultural and other factors.
– to inform registered users about their relative efficiency or abilities in the game. Abnormal results will result in a «See your doctor » sign.
– to provide mental health professionals complete reports of their patients’ psychotechnical performance in games.
– to inform game companies about how their products are being used.
Computer games for diagnosis and treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder.
About 5% of the world infantile population suffers of this psychological disorder, also called Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). These children rapidly jump from a topic to other, have difficulties to concentrate in any type of task or game, and suffer learning disorders.
ADD is the most common reason for consulting a child neurologist. This condition is often attenuated with age, although scholastic lag and social adjustment difficulties can persist.
Diagnosis of ADD is hard to establish, because there is no conclusive single medical or psychological study that defines it. As a result, many children are straddled in borderline situations either at psychological or neurological level.
There is no medical consensus on the causes of this disease, neither on its treatment. Some children respond well to medications (tranquilizers, psychoactive drugs), which must be administered for several years.
Computer games are very effective in capturing child and adult attention. Addiction to them is not usually considered pathological, even when users spend most of their free time at the screen.
Several facts indicate that ADD children could be attracted to videogames:
1) there are a few publications in favor of (but not against) using videogames in clinic situations.
2) the ADD children are normal in the rest of their psychological aspects.
The current literature (Medline and the WWW) does not mention videogames for attention testing (yet).
Advantages of a software with videogame interface that could capture the ADD children attention:
1) the attention span of children could be measured.
2) the software could differentiate the attractive capacity of various stimuli (different topics, standards, colors, sounds, etc.).
4) these collected data can assess the effectiveness of medical, psychological or pharmacological treatments.
5) since most games tend to increasingly capture users’ attention, the game could become a treatment for the hyperactive condition. Besides, they could be used to reinforce positive behaviors.
Features of the ADD software:
– Game-like interface.
– Reward upon completing levels
– Election between different proposals (puzzle, ping -pong, car race, etc.).
The games can be programmed from scratch, modifying existing shareware or commercial packages with the data collection module.
Games for this purpose do not have to be very sophisticated. Simple games with a few options each can be very addictive, and are best suited for this purpose. (Tetris, Pacman, Pong, Breakout, Aliens).
Either Linux, Mac or Windows platform will be acceptable.
The ADD software could be the first product equipped with the data collection module, because it can easily introduce the mental health professionals and the game companies to the «parent controllable» concept.
A simple version of the ADD game will be released as freeware, intended for parents and educators. It will be promoted and distributed thru INTERNET.
A more complete version of the game will be sold with the data collection module. The encrypted file could be sent by e-mail or by conventional methods to the headquarters of the company, together with payment. There, a psychologist will compare the patient’s data with those of the average population.
Mental health professionals will be able to acquire a version of the software that will not encrypt the data, or to subscribe to a complete service of data interpretation.