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Psychology

Games

New tests developed for the addictive potential of computer games

Have you ever felt that one computer game is more "addictive" than another? Leaving definitions aside for the moment, it's fair to say that an addictive computer game is likely to be a more successful product than a game that is merely fun to play. Gaming developers apply numerous techniques and tests in an attempt to evaluate which games will hit the right buttons. Now researchers at Academia Sinica and the National Taiwan University (ASNTU) have developed a direct test for the addictiveness of a computer game based on physiological responses of a group of new players. Read More

New research explains why Facebook posts are so memorable

The success of social networks such as Facebook may provide clues to the type of information the human mind tends to favor. New research suggests human memory prefers spontaneous writing favored by users communicating online to grammatically polished text found in edited material. This the gist of the findings presented in a paper called Major Memory for Microblogs, which details the results of a research comparing memory retention of Facebook updates to book excerpts and faces.Read More

Giving smartphones emotional intelligence

It would be great if smartphones could sense moods – especially when they've dropped a call three times in five minutes. Engineers at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York have developed a prototype app that provides phones with a form of emotional intelligence that could have wide applications in phones and beyond. Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Biofeedback-augmented video game helps children curb their anger

Often, when people talk about children and the psychological effects of playing video games, it’s nothing good – there are certainly plenty of individuals who maintain that if a child spends too much time blowing away virtual enemies, they will become more aggressive, antisocial people in the real world. A new game developed at Boston Children's Hospital, however, is intended to do just the opposite. It helps children with anger problems to control their temper, so they’ll get along better with other people.Read More

Science

The science of cute

Why do small helpless things – babies, kittens, puppies, pandas in baby form – turn even the most cynical human into a helpless wreck? Why don’t we have the same reaction to a baby lizard or fish or bird? What, in short, is this cuteness thing all about? It turns out that the science of cute is far more interesting than you’d think.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Virtual veterans help train U.S. Army psychologists

A technology currently under development at the University of Southern California (USC) is using highly interactive, artificial intelligence-driven virtual patients to simulate psychological disorders – particularly those that occur most often among soldiers – and train U.S. military psychiatrists and psychologists to treat their patients more effectively.Read More

Automotive

Ford developing biometric systems to manage "driver workload"

The Ford Motor Company recently invited Gizmag to attend its Go Further With Ford 2012 conference on technological trends, which took place last Tuesday through Thursday in Detroit. One of the presentations that we took in looked at the automaker’s MyFord Touch system, and where that technology may be heading. Among other things, the Ford engineers want the system to be able to automatically ascertain how mentally-taxed the driver is, so it can determine if it should deliver notifications to them, or just shut up and let them drive.Read More

Electronics

MIT's wearable brain scanner monitors your cognitive state, handles your workload if needed

As machines get more and more sophisticated, the mental capacity of their human overlords stays at a static (albeit seemingly impressive) level, and therefore slowly starts to pale in comparison. The bandwidth of the human brain is not limitless, and if an overloaded brain happens to be overseeing machines carrying out potentially dangerous tasks, you can expect trouble. But why had we built the machines in the first place, if not to save us from trouble? Brainput, a brain-computer interface built by researchers from MIT and Tufts University, is going to let your computer know if you’re mentally fit for the job at hand. If it decides your brain is overloaded with tasks, it will help you out by handling some of them for you.Read More

Telecommunications

Determine if you're addicted to Facebook, with The Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale

It is possible to get addicted to almost anything. The most obvious candidates are things like cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, and food. But anything which causes some kind of obsessive behavior in even one individual has the potential to be addictive. That includes the Web and, in particular, social networking sites such as Facebook. New research from the University of Bergen (UiB) suggests Facebook addiction is not only real but measurable using the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale. Read More

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