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What if you could customize your anxiety?




Master Project 2 Design Research

What if you could customize your anxiety? Externalizing your anxiety, instead of seeing it as something stuck as part of yourself is shown to have positive effects. What if you take this a step further?

Games often have customizable character creation for representing a version of yourself, but this could also be applied to anxiety. Several studies have shown the benefits of using games as mental health interventions but also show the need to personalize them.

This research includes a game where participants can customize their anxiety and get assigned an interaction based on different coping strategies: fighting, avoiding or reasoning with their anxiety. Through a questionnaire and in-game data, the influence of this interaction is investigated and linked to coping strategies.

The research was done in collaboration with Danny Pimentel & Shane Burrell from the University of Oregon & Max Birk from the Eindhoven University of Technology.

The project taught me a lot about research methods: for example data collection and processing as well as visualizing it. The effects of difference in the research probe and outcome and crowdsourced online testing. It also improved my academic writing, collaboration in a research setting and design challenges around improving game instructions for remote settings and building simple yet varied customization interfaces.