I breathe deeply, banish all distractions, and focus on the chicken.
May 11, 2015 9:29 AM   Subscribe

For the past few years, a small group of psychiatrists, researchers, educators, and game designers have run a quiet but intense footrace to become the first to earn FDA approval for a medically sound, prescription-strength video game for ADHD. That’s not a metaphor. They are seeking approval for a game that a doctor can actually prescribe..
In this excerpt from his new book, posted on Medium, journalist Greg Toppo discusses a variety of new neurogames and how they may in the future treat conditions like ADHD and anxiety, strengthen skills like multitasking and mindfulness, and reduce the need for pharmaceutical interventions for children. (Fair warning, the article has an animated header image that may annoy, so you may want to scroll right on down past it before you start reading.)
posted by Stacey (11 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
I find this fascinating. I have Tourette Syndrome, and wish there were ways to make Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Tics (CBiT) training, therapy, and exercises more accessible.
posted by Juliet Banana at 9:33 AM on May 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

Mental control of games always reminds me of this Red Dwarf bit.
posted by PandaMomentum at 10:11 AM on May 11, 2015

I WANT THIS GAME. Hopefully when my Emotiv Insight finally gets here, something like this will be not-overwhelming to program.

Also, "Farmer Brown's Olde-Time Vulcan Mind Meld" made me guffaw.
posted by katya.lysander at 10:55 AM on May 11, 2015

I am so excited by this! My little heart is filled with glee over how far the technology has come. I still remember in the olden days, the clinic I was seeing for anxiety had a Relaxation Room--big, fluffy recliners, dim lighting, and a selection of relaxation tapes (tapes!) to listen to. And one day I'm in there visualizing my breath or whatever, when I notice something that looks for all the world like a computer with a headband attached. I stop my tape and investigate. It's a computer (I think it might've been a C64?) with a biofeedback program! I was all, to hell with this man on the tape telling me to tense and relax my muscles, let us merge with the machine! So I read the instructions, strapped the headset on--pretty nervous because even though nobody ever said I couldn't use it, they were so tetchy about how you used the room that I worried about getting in trouble, but for once, fear could not stand in my way! And soon enough, I was moving a little box on a screen with the power of my mind! Or, well, truth be told, probably the power of how crinkled my forehead was, since that's the only thing it seemed to respond to. While I didn't find it at all relaxing, it did at least give me lots of practice unwrinkling so that I looked calmer!

So I eagerly await the Humble EEG Bundle!
posted by mittens at 11:33 AM on May 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

Or the Humble EGG Bundle, which helps you travel to parallel universes with the power of your mind and tantric sex.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 11:56 AM on May 11, 2015

Will they ever invent a video game that cures the tendinitis I have in my thumbs from playing too many video games?
posted by rankfreudlite at 1:11 PM on May 11, 2015

Atari Mindlink, 1984
"Testing showed that players frequently got headaches[4] due to moving their eyebrows to play the game
Ron Gordon tried again in 1996:

MindDrive, 1996
You get to hone your skills by moving a trail of bubbles through apertures that appear on the screen. Sometimes it seems to work. The same, of course, can be said of the good old Magic 8-Ball
The trouble is placebo and nocebo. I saw similar enthusiasm for EMDR when it arrived. It's shrouded in futurist techno-drag, yet seems to work about as well as standard exposure therapy. But it *looks* a lot more active, so many people like it. It *seems* to be doing something, and we're wired to respond with high saliency and low latency to visual stimuli. So people give therapies or explanations with visual feedback high credibility. Much like a polygraph.
posted by meehawl at 1:12 PM on May 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

How does one sign up to be a test subject for this?
posted by divabat at 2:12 PM on May 11, 2015

This is completely anecdotal, but Guitar Hero helped a LOT with my ADHD back when I was addicted to it for a few months and that is somewhat in line with what the article suggests.
posted by KTamas at 5:58 AM on May 12, 2015

My partner is semi-seriously convinced that Watch Dogs is secretly a bipolar disorder therapy game, just with a storyline slapped on top so they could market it as an actual game for neurotypicals too. While I think he's probably not right about that, it was really cool seeing how he could use the framework of the game as a sort of therapy for some of the cognitive problems he was having around that time.
posted by Stacey at 6:26 AM on May 12, 2015

It *seems* to be doing something, and we're wired to respond with high saliency and low latency to visual stimuli.

Well, you just wait till Marketing is done with it!
posted by sneebler at 7:26 AM on May 12, 2015

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