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I am a research and teaching fellow funded by the Swiss national science foundation at the Department of Psychology at the University of Geneva. My team is hosted in the lab of Daphne Bavelier since October 2013 at Geneva's Campus Biotech. An overarching goal of my research is to understand how emotional states and personality traits respectively contribute to affective functioning,  and how mental health conditions such as anxiety or mood disorders may alter these processes. We are also working on adapting the technology of video-games for training specific brain functions such as attention and investigate how we can adapt virtual learning environments for education or rehabilitation in clinical contexts.

Video-games, besides being fun, also provide unique and engaging learning environments that can be used as effective vehicles to promote or train specific cognitive or affective competences. They offer several advantages over existing interventions given that: 1) they allow to exploit the intrinsic motivation that individuals invest to learn a new skill in a game context. 2) They provide constant feedback and 3) they can adapt to individuals’ performance by progressively adjusting the difficulty to maintain an optimal and challenging learning environment. One crucial question that should be addressed in this domain is what makes a learning environment effective to not only induce learning a specific function, but also transfer learning from one context to another that shares similar characteristics.

One important question that should be addressed in this research is what makes a learning environment effective to not only induce learning a specific function, but also transfer learning from one context to another that shares similar characteristics. Such knowledge might then be brought into play when we build virtual learning environments for education or rehabilitation in clinical contexts.

We use convergent methods from neuroscience (brain imaging techniques, psychophysics, peripheral measures, eye tracking) and from video game design to address these issues. Besides this, I am also the coordinator of the research focus on Emotions, video-games and virtual reality hosted at the Swiss center for affective sciences at the Campus Biotech.

Keywords: Affective sciences, cognitive control, learning, gamification of cognitive therapies, video game research

News:


- September 2018: Glad to learn that our video game "Eco Rescue" targeting attention training in anxiety was just nominated as one of the 10 finalists in the "Best Educational Game Award" category of the TIGA Games Industry Awards that will take place in London in November !

- August 2018: The lab releases the final version of our serious videogame Eco-Rescue (see screenshot below). We are now starting a randomized control trial study which includes a 1-month training study to assess the potential efficiency of the game as an ABM training regimen. This project is in collaboration with Pr Tomer Shechner (U. Haifa).

- June 2018: Honored to have been awarded an incentive funding grant from the Swiss Center for affective science to help financing a training study on the serious video game we are developing and which should start in October 2018.

- April 2018: Honored to have been awarded the Accessit Marina Picasso prize and grant from the Foundation AEMD, which will help to finance our current research on serious games in mental health. A press release can be found here.

- March 2018: Glad to feature as a jury member of the Emotional Games Awards 2018 organized by Erik Geslin and his team at UCO Laval.

- February 2018: Will be starting a lecture on "Peripheral physiologic measures and application to biofeedback" (U. Geneva, FPSE).

- January 2018: Happy to release the beta version of a serious video game designed for Attention Bias Modification. Proud of the work that my students game designers did in the past 2 years (Antoine, Mohamed, Valentin, David, Edwin). Trailer of the game here



 
Gameplay example


Scoring table
 
As players progress in the game, they help decontaminating the planets of the galaxy

Contact:
swann.pichon [zu] unige.ch
Campus Biotech, bât. H8-2
FPSE - University of Geneva
Chemin des Mines 9, Case postale 60, 1211 Geneva 20
Phone/Fax: +41 22 37 90 291 / +41 22 37 99 020