Currently accepted at: JMIR Mental Health
Date Submitted: Jul 20, 2018
Open Peer Review Period: Jul 21, 2018 - Aug 16, 2018
Date Accepted: Oct 15, 2018
(closed for review but you can still tweet)
Gamified Cognitive Bias Modification Interventions for Psychiatric Disorders: Review
Automatic biases, such as attentional biases and avoidance and interpretative biases, have been purported to be responsible for several psychiatric disorders. Gamification has been considered for cognitive bias modification, mainly to address the core issues of diminishing motivation to train over time, as bias modification intervention tasks tend to be highly repetitive. While a prior review has suggested how gamification strategies could be applied to such tasks, there remains a lack of systematic evaluation of gamified cognitive bias modification interventions in the literature.
The objective of this review is to understand the overall effectiveness of a gamified approach for cognitive bias modification and inform future research that seeks to integrate gamification technologies into existing conventional bias modification interventions.
To identify the relevant articles for our review, the following search terminologies were used: (â€œcognitive biasâ€ OR â€œattention biasâ€ OR â€œinterpret* biasâ€ OR â€œapproach biasâ€ OR â€œavoidance biasâ€) AND (â€œtrainingâ€ OR â€œmodificationâ€ OR â€œpracticeâ€ OR â€œtherapyâ€) AND (â€œgamificationâ€ OR â€œgame elementsâ€ OR â€œgameâ€ OR â€œgamingâ€ OR â€œgame mechanicsâ€). PubMed, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and Scopus databases were searched systematically for articles published after 2000. Articles were included if they described a gamified cognitive bias modification task and included participants with underlying psychopathological symptoms. Data were systematically extracted from the identified articles, and a qualitative synthesis was performed.
Four studies evaluated gamified cognitive bias modification interventions. Two studies included participants with anxiety symptoms, one with affective symptoms, and one with alcohol problems. The conventional visual probe task paradigm was used in 3 studies, and the attentional visual search task paradigm was used in the last study. We found gaming elements incorporated to include that of animations, sounds, feedback, and a point-scoring system for response time and difficulty. Of the 4 identified studies, only 2 reported their gamified interventions to be effective.
Our review is the first to systematically synthesize the evidence for gamified cognitive bias modification interventions. The results arising from our review should be considered in the future design and conceptualization of gamified cognitive bias modification interventions. International Registered Report Identifier (IRRID): RR2-10.2196/10154
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