Note: In 2013, Health Games Research completed its work. This web site is now an archive and will not be updated. Please visit the web site of the Center for Digital Games Research www.cdgr.ucsb.edu at UC Santa Barbara to find current information about health games and the broader field of digital games, and to use the Health Games Research online searchable database.

Mindless Eating Challenge: Persuasive Mechanisms in Mobile Health Games

Mindless Eating Challenge, a mobile phone game for younger adolescents, rewards players’ good health habits and food choices. A study of this game investigates how strategies of persuasion in a game can promote healthy behaviors in daily life. The game uses eating tips, mobile phone snapshots of foods that players plan to eat, nurturing of virtual characters, and feedback from the system and from peers to promote good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.

Principal Investigator
Photo
Professor
Department of Communication
Co-Investigator
Sahara Byrne, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Communication
Other Researchers

News

Grantee Project Publication Title Datesort icon
Cornell University
Mindless Eating Challenge: Persuasive Mechanisms in Mobile Health Games The Post-Standard Virtual Pets Encourage Canastota Students to Eat Healthy 06/08/2009
Cornell University
Mindless Eating Challenge: Persuasive Mechanisms in Mobile Health Games The Post-Standard Can a Virtual Pet Teach Kids? 11/18/2008

Publications

Byrne, S., Gay, G., Pollak, J. P., Retelny, D., Gonzales, A. L., & Wansink, B. (2012). Caring for mobile phone based avatars can lead teenagers to eat breakfast. Journal of Children and Media, 6(1), 83-89.

Gay, G. (2009). Context-Aware Mobile Computing: Affordances of Space, Social Awareness, and Social Influence. Princeton, NJ: Morgan & Claypool Publishers.

Pollak, J. P., Gay, G., Byrne, S., Wagner, E., Retelny, D., & Humpfreys, L. (2010). It’s time to eat! Using mobile games to promote healthy eating. IEEE Pervasive Computing: Connected Youth, 9(3), 21-27.


Presentations

Byrne, S., Gay, G., Pollak, J.P., Retelny, D., Gonzales, A. L. & Wansink, B. (2010). When I eat so bad, my pet looks so sad: An initial test of the persuasive effect of feedback from a mobile phone virtual pet on adolescent breakfast intake. A paper accepted for presentation at the annual conference of the International Communication Association, Division: Children, Adolescents and the Media, Singapore. 

Gay, G. & Pollak, J.P. (2010) Mood and health. Presented at Sanofi-Aventis. 

Gay, G. (2010). Virtual reality and the use of new technologies for health interventions. Invited Presentation to NIH, Bethesda, MD. 

Gay, G., Byrne, S. & Pollak, J.P. (2009). Social influence and the effects of feedback on adolescent eating behavior. Presented to Games for Health, Boston, MA.

Gay, G., Byrne, S. & Pollak, J.P. (2010) The use of cell phones to influence behavior. Panel Presentation to Games for Health, Boston, MA.