The patients who fully tested out their fears in virtual reality by lowering their defences showed very substantial reductions in their paranoid delusions. After the virtual reality therapy session, over 50% of these patients no longer had severe paranoia at the end of the testing day.
There were even benefits for those who confronted situations they feared in virtual reality while still using their defences: around 20% of this group no longer having severe paranoia at the end of the testing day.
That’s where Hackaball comes in. The creation of London-based “innovation accelerator” Made by Many, Hackaball is a durable, croquet-ball-sized sphere that kids can program via iPad to respond with light, sound, and vibration. Kids are invited to use the ball’s functionality to create their own games and use cases (imagine the cathartic wonders of an alarm clock that you can turn off by throwing it against a wall).
The most recent issue of the American Journal of Play (Fall, 2014) includes an article (link is external) by researchers Adam Eichenbaum, Daphne Bavelier, and C. Shawn Green summarizing recent research demonstrating long-lasting positive effects of video games on basic mental processes–such as perception, attention, memory, and decision-making. Most of the research involves effects of action video games—that is, games that require players to move rapidly, keep track of many items at once, hold a good deal of information in their mind at once, and make split-second decisions. Many of the abilities tapped by such games are precisely those that psychologists consider to be the basic building blocks of intelligence.