This past November we announced the start of the Oculus funded smokeSCREEN VR project for the play4REAL Lab at Yale’s Center for Health & Learning Games. We will combine behavior change theory and virtual reality in order to immerse teens in peer pressure situations related to e-cigarettes, the objective being to provide opportunities for them to practice and improve refusal skills. Recently, we wrote a guest blog post on play4REAL Lab’s blog regarding their preparation work for the project, as well as which features will be included in the first iteration of the prototype.
play4REAL Lab’s Role
The article mentions how the play4REAL Lab is helping us achieve our goals by initially conducting focus groups:
The play4REAL Lab conducted several focus groups with teens to better understand their attitudes and perceptions around e-cigarettes. The goal of these focus groups was to create a relatable, tailored game specific to teens and their experiences. For instance, they were able to gain an understanding surrounding the language teens use in situations involving e-cigarettes, which will be incorporated directly into the game.
Furthermore, the play4REAL Lab created a ‘game playbook’ to prepare content for the game:
The play4REAL Lab created a Game Playbook, or game design manual, that contains a summary of their research, transformational goals for the player, targeted variables that influence behavior, theoretical constructs that inform the game, as well as other information such as the findings from the focus groups.
First Iteration Features
In addition, the article mentions three key elements that will be included in the first iteration as a way to have teens fully immersed in the peer pressure situation.
- Ambisonic Audio – This unique method of capturing and using audio will help us replicate social peer pressure by providing a full 360 degree representation of sound.
- Voice Recognition – The best way for the user to practice refusing peer pressure is by literally speaking the words of refusal, which will be picked up by the device.
- Smartphone use – Since teens frequently communicate through their phones, it is important for this aspect to be included in the prototype, providing a more realistic representation of how teens correspond with each other.
For more details about the first iteration of the prototype and project as a whole, please visit the guest blog post on play4REAL Lab’s website.