Video Gaming for Positive Mental Health

My specific research interests include how positive effects such as increased happiness, pro-social behaviour and management of negative emotions can be achieved when playing engaging video games. I’ve recently carried out online research on 207 individuals who play video games investigating the relationships between the structural video game characteristics, video game engagement and happiness. Using a cross sectional research approach, I found that flow (engaged in an activity in such a way that all else becomes oblivious) is predicted when individuals play video games with punishment characteristics (i.e. dying, losing a life, restarting a level) and presentation characteristics (i.e. state of art graphics, sounds, audio effects) are present. What this could mean is that flow may be achieved when engaging video games are ‘more difficult’ and that audio-visual features may facilitate this process.

My general research interests are at the intersection of technology and human behaviour. I have carried out research in the areas of video gaming for positive mental health, identifying psychological phenomena in online gaming worlds, behaviour in cyberspace, and how psychology can play a crucial role in Ireland’s performances at the Eurovision Song Contest. My undergraduate degree is in Applied Psychology and I completed a research masters degree at Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology in 2015.

Other publications of mine include a variety of app reviews in the BPS Psychologist Magazine, an article for Computers in Entertainment on the psychological themes found in the Legend of Zelda video game series, and I presented at the 44th Annual PSI Conference on how psychological factors influence Ireland’s performances at the Eurovision Song Contest. My Eurovision work has been featured in the Irish Examiner, I wrote about gaming for wellbeing on A Lust For Life, and continually lookout for future opportunities to network an collaborate with researchers alike. You can get in touch with me @dereklaffan.

Here’s Derek’s talk at Student Talks 2016 

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Derek Laffan

Derek's research interests are in the intersection of technology and human behaviour.
He has an undergraduate degree in Applied Psychology, and has recently completed a research masters in Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology.