Can Videogames Promote Emotional Intelligence in Teenagers?

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A new study has shown that videogames, when used as part of an emotional intelligence training program, can help teenagers evaluate, express, and manage their own emotions immediately after the training. The study design, interpretation of results, and implications of these findings are published in Games for Health Journal.

The article entitled “Can Videogames Be Used to Promote Emotional Intelligence in Teenagers? Results from EmotivaMente, a School Program” was coauthored by Claudia Carissoli and Daniela Villani, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Milan, Italy). The researchers developed an emotional intelligence training program that integrated videogames as experience-based learning tools. The experimental group of teenagers participated in eight sessions and their emotional competency was evaluated before beginning the program, at the end of the training, and three months later. The researchers provide recommendations for future research based on the results of this study.

“Games for health have been designed to address an increasing variety of issues. A relatively new health issue is emotional intelligence, which has implications for various health problems, including coping with stress,” says Tom Baranowski, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of Games for Health Journal, from USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center, and Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX. “Carissoli and Villani created a videogame, EmotivaMente, to enhance emotional intelligence among adolescents, perhaps the group that could benefit most. Their preliminary evaluation indicated that playing the game enhanced the students’ evaluation and expression of emotions. This is an important first step in designing a game to learn to manage emotions. While the impact was limited, further enhancements to the game may have substantial additional effects. Stay tuned!”

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