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date: 18 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores how video games interact with individual characteristics to afford unique opportunities for behavior change. It first considers how video games differ from traditional media, and more specifically how they create virtual situations that may be perceived differently from those naturally occurring in reality. In this regard, the concept of situational affordance is discussed. It then examines simulated experiences provided by video games before describing a range of psychosocial pathways (both cognitive and affective) through which video games can impact behavior change both intentionally and inadvertently (motivation, personalization, Proteus Effect). It also recommends game elements aimed at eliciting behavior change and highlights some concrete applications that illustrate how games or game elements can be used to induce and sustain changes in health attitudes and behaviors. Finally, it identifies several areas for future research that are emerging in the field of game studies.

Keywords: video game, behavior change, situational affordance, simulated experience, avatar, motivation, personalization, Proteus effect, health attitude, health behavior

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