Why Gaming Is Much More Than Just Fun and Games

Gaming allows users to tap into positive emotions like curiosity, optimism, and creativity, says Jane McGonigal, Ph.D., a world-renowned designer of alternate reality games.

Big Think Edge is a video-driven platform that catalyzes happiness and performance in professional environments by cultivating leadership, creativity, and self-knowledge. Learn more about Big Think Edge.

Gaming allows users to tap into positive emotions like curiosity, optimism, and creativity, says Jane McGonigal, Ph.D., a world-renowned designer of alternate reality games.

The creative possibility of games is a reality many business leaders already recognize, according to Big Think's 2015 Exponential Leaders List, but many don't believe prizes and gamification are being used effectively enough in the workplace. Alternative methods of teaching creative skills are already appearing in surprising places.

In a bold education experiment, one New York City public school has banned homework in an attempt to engage its students in more creative activities like playing and spending time with friends. Jane Hsu, principal of P.S. 116, cited research indicating that traditional learning methods become stifling when they aren't supplemented by more stimulating activities.

In case you thought otherwise, games will be integrated further into our lives via mobile devices in the coming years. Nintendo, for example, will devote huge resources toward creating games on mobile platforms after stubbornly holding out for years.

And TechCrunch is reporting on the Finnish startup Everywear Games, which is developing games for wearable technologies including the Apple Watch. The company says gaming trends will make playing games more intimate and shorter in duration while still building toward larger narrative arcs.

"We believe that games for smartwatches have to be easy to pick-up and play. You can’t expect players to read instructions or sit through tutorials. At the same time, these games have to give the players a wealth of alternatives, trade-offs, and strategic choices. So managing this balance between simplicity and depth is perhaps one of the key challenges."

Rewards-based gamification could be used as a powerful tool, allowing individuals to access positive emotions while contributing to an organization's mission to innovate. Collaboration between businesses and gaming companies will determine what that future holds in store.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Can the keto diet help treat depression? Here’s what the science says so far

A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.

Public Domain
Mind & Brain
  • The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
  • Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
  • Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
Keep reading Show less
Promotional photo of Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister on Game of Thrones
Surprising Science
  • It's commonly thought that the suppression of female sexuality is perpetuated by either men or women.
  • In a new study, researchers used economics games to observe how both genders treat sexually-available women.
  • The results suggests that both sexes punish female promiscuity, though for different reasons and different levels of intensity.
Keep reading Show less

Want to age gracefully? A new study says live meaningfully

Thinking your life is worthwhile is correlated with a variety of positive outcomes.

Surprising Science
  • A new study finds that adults who feel their lives are meaningful have better health and life outcomes.
  • Adults who felt their lives were worthwhile tended to be more social and had healthier habits.
  • The findings could be used to help improve the health of older adults.
Keep reading Show less