SIGGRAPH: Keynote Speaker Jane McGonigal

Posted By Jeff Kember on August 13, 2012 06:22 am | Permalink
Jane McGonigal, author of "Reality is Broken", gave an insightful keynote to a packed house. She extolled the virtues of gaming, cited interesting facts from a number of case studies (including her own research) and claimed she would increase our lifespan by seven and a half minutes (more on that below). 

After suffering a severe concussion, she created the game "SuperBetter" to help her through the depression of a long recovery. In another study, young cancer patients who played the game Re-Mission for a minimum of two hours showed significantly improved outcomes. We learned that thirty minutes of online game play a day could outperform pharmaceuticals in treating clinical anxiety and depression.

She led the crowd through a set of activities to designed to improve physical, mental, emotional and social resilience. An example of social resilience was shaking hands with someone for six seconds to increase the levels of oxytocin - the trust hormone. She suggested the effects of increased oxytocin would last through our lunch break and that we should take advantage of networking opportunities. The combination of these activities, performed daily, contributes to increasing one's lifespan (up to ten years in several studies, seven and a half minutes in our case today). 

Another positive aspect of playing games is that it is one of the few areas in our life that a high rate of failure is OK.