The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of the EndeavorRx computer game as a medicine. This summer, patients will be able to receive a prescription from a doctor. Its main users will be children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
EndeavorRx is a racing simulator with a flexible environment. It only looks like an ordinary toy, but in fact it is a training complex for the prefrontal cortex of the brain. The game analyzes the actions of the player and, using adaptive algorithms, selects suitable tasks for him. The technique was licensed by the laboratory of Adam Gazzeili, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Francisco.
The game's lead developer, Craig Ferguson, laments bureaucrats who don't want to acknowledge the healing potential of games. For example, in the fight against depression, it is very important to break the vicious circle when the patient does not want to do anything because of the fear of failure. The game gives him a task and an incentive, encourages him to make new attempts even if he loses. And at the same time he does not put forward any criticism, any subjective assessments or attempts to influence the person.
Chelsea Wilkes, PhD in Psychology at Harvard, discusses the side of the game, such as extorting money from players. There are a lot of crude methods and subtle methods of psychological influence on the player for this purpose, plus new ones are constantly being developed in the interests of business. So why not turn them to good - create a system of incentives that will encourage the patient to play even more actively, to develop and heal?