jeudi 10 juin 2010

Serious Game contre le vieillissement : Seneludens

Seneludens is a project focused on designing games and other therapeutic behavioral environments with the specific aim of maintaining anticipatory characteristics during the aging process. The title is derived from two words: senescence (from the Latin sene, “old age”), that is, changes that take place in a living organism as time advances; and ludens (as in homo ludens, playful human, playfulness being a characteristic of humankind). It is known, and amply documented in scientific literature, that play, as an active form of involvement in a rewarding activity, fulfi lls necessary functions. It is practice for reallife actions. Play develops physical, mental, and social skills, just as it relaxes the mind and body without the deleterious effects of extended televiewing and other forms of passive distraction.

Why Seneludens?
Aging, along with the associated costs (not just in dollars), is a major health problem (cf. United Nations Programme on Ageing). Many resources are utilized for fighting aging and its effects at its core (genetic, molecular, neuronal), but few for attenuating the consequences of the basic aging process. The fact that the post-World War II baby boom generation will be reaching elderly status in the coming years adds urgency to the need to address foreseeable problems before they occur. This situation is tantamount to a Sputnik for research in aging, similar to what became the impetus for the American space program (cf. Kennedy).

Aware and respectful of the research in progress, especially in the area defined as brain plasticity or rewiring, we are looking for ways to integrate its results with a new approach: combine the will of the aging toremake themselves, to live in a dignified manner, to enjoy quality of life, with available means other than medication for maintaining characteristics that make life worth living. In particular, with means that engage the individual, such as interactive games—understood in a very broad sense—that stimulate an active path of maintaining anticipatory characteristics. Games are openended, nonlinear stories with an embedded wager (reward mechanism). Involvement in games can be physical, cognitive, emotional, and/or social. It always entails learning, which is why games are adopted for all kinds of training. Documented through research is the impact of game involvement in

active recall of information
- coordination skills, especially eye-hand coordination
- reaction time
- predictive thinking
- decision making
- collision avoidance

Furthermore, these are all the result of the human beings anticipatory characteristics.

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