Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Video game console


Observing social interactions between children and adults is a major method in the toolkit of psychologists who examine social development and social relationships. Although this method has revealed many interesting phenomena, it cannot determine the effect of behavior independent of other traits. Research on the role of attractiveness in social development provides an example of this conundrum: Are attractive and unattractive children/adults treated differently because of their attractiveness (independent of their behavior), do they behave differently and thus elicit differential treatment, or both? Virtual world and avatar-based technologies allow researchers to control the social behaviors of targets; however, whether children and adults use the facial attractiveness of avatars as a social cue in the same way as they do with real peers is currently unknown. Using Mii avatars from the popular Nintendo Wii video game console, Study 1 found that the facial attractiveness ratings of real people strongly predicted the attractiveness ratings of avatar faces based on the former group. Study 2 revealed that adults (n=46) and children (n=42) prefer attractive avatars as social partners. The results of this set of methodological studies may help to clarify future research on the relationship between attractiveness and behavior throughout the lifespan. Furthermore, the use of avatars may allow studies to experimentally examine the effects of attractiveness in situations where such research is not ethical (e.g., peer victimization).

Concepts: Scientific method, Sociology, Behavior, Social relation, Wii, Video game console, Mii, Xbox 360


Limited evidence is available about the effectiveness of virtual reality using low cost commercial consoles for children with developmental delay.

Concepts: Virtual reality, Modality, Video game console, Xbox 360


The use of video gaming as a therapeutic intervention has increased in popularity; however, the number of repetitions in comparison with traditional therapy methods has yet to be investigated. The primary purpose of this study was to document and compare the number of repetitions performed while playing 1 of 2 video gaming systems for a time frame similar to that of a traditional therapy session in individuals with chronic stroke.

Concepts: Medicine, Play, Video game, Hemiplegia, Game, Video game genres, Video game console, Gameplay


BACKGROUND: Children with Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (DCD) experience poor motor and psychosocial outcomes. Interventions are often limited within the healthcare system, and little is known about how technology might be used within schools or homes to promote the motor skills and/or psychosocial development of these children. This study aimed to evaluate whether short, regular school-based sessions of movement experience using a commercially available home video game console (Nintendo’s Wii Fit) would lead to benefits in both motor and psychosocial domains in children with DCD. METHODS: A randomized crossover controlled trial of children with movement difficulties/DCD was conducted. Children were randomly assigned to an intervention (n = 10) or comparison (n = 8) group. The intervention group spent 10 min thrice weekly for 1 month using Wii Fit during the lunch break, while the comparison group took part in their regular Jump Ahead programme. Pre- and post-intervention assessments considered motor proficiency, self-perceived ability and satisfaction and parental assessment of emotional and behavioural problems. RESULTS: Significant gains were seen in motor proficiency, the child’s perception of his/her motor ability and reported emotional well-being for many, but not all children. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides preliminary evidence to support the use of the Wii Fit within therapeutic programmes for children with movement difficulties. This simple, popular intervention represents a plausible method to support children’s motor and psychosocial development. It is not possible from our data to say which children are most likely to benefit from such a programme and particularly what the dose and duration should be. Further research is required to inform across these and other questions regarding the implementation of virtual reality technologies in therapeutic services for children with movement difficulties.

Concepts: Wii, Nintendo, Wii Balance Board, Wii Menu, Shigeru Miyamoto, Wii Play, Nintendo GameCube, Video game console


Physical activity is effective in improving glycaemic control in diabetes mellitus. Yet only 40% of people meet the recommended level of physical activity. Nintendo Wii tennis has an energy expenditure of moderate intensity, and may be a viable part of a physical activity programme.

Concepts: Diabetes mellitus type 2, Diabetes mellitus, Obesity, Wii, Shigeru Miyamoto, Video game console, Wii Sports, Super Mario Bros.


Large numbers of children and adolescents in Canada, UK and USA are not getting their recommended daily dose of moderate to vigorous physical activity, and are thus more prone to obesity and its ill health effects. Exergames (video games that require physical activity to play) are rapidly gaining user acceptance, and may have the potential to increase physical activity levels among young people. Mobile exergames for GPS (global positioning system)-enabled smartphones and mini-tablets take players outdoors, in the open air, unlike console exergames, e.g., Xbox 360 Kinect exergames, which limit players to playing indoors in front of a TV set. In this paper and its companion ‘Additional file 1’, we review different examples of GPS exergames and of gamified geosocial apps and gadgets (mobile, location-aware apps and devices with social and gamification features), and briefly discuss some of the issues surrounding their use. Further research is needed to document best practices in this area, quantify the exact health and fitness benefits of GPS exergames and apps (under different settings and scenarios), and find out what is needed to improve them and the best ways to promote their adoption by the public.

Concepts: Illness, Navigation, Global navigation satellite system, GPS, Radio navigation, Video game console, Xbox 360, Wide Area Augmentation System


The aim of the present study was to determine whether aerobic exercise involving an active video game system improved asthma control, airway inflammation and exercise capacity in children with moderate to severe asthma.

Concepts: Experimental design, Asthma, Randomized controlled trial, Clinical research, Strength training, Video game console


IMPORTANCE Active video games may offer an effective strategy to increase physical activity in overweight and obese children. However, the specific effects of active gaming when delivered within the context of a pediatric weight management program are unknown. OBJECTIVE To evaluate the effects of active video gaming on physical activity and weight loss in children participating in an evidence-based weight management program delivered in the community. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS Group-randomized clinical trial conducted during a 16-week period in YMCAs and schools located in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Texas. Seventy-five overweight or obese children (41 girls [55%], 34 whites [45%], 20 Hispanics [27%], and 17 blacks [23%]) enrolled in a community-based pediatric weight management program. Mean (SD) age of the participants was 10.0 (1.7) years; body mass index (BMI) z score, 2.15 (0.40); and percentage overweight from the median BMI for age and sex, 64.3% (19.9%). INTERVENTIONS All participants received a comprehensive family-based pediatric weight management program (JOIN for ME). Participants in the program and active gaming group received hardware consisting of a game console and motion capture device and 1 active game at their second treatment session and a second game in week 9 of the program. Participants in the program-only group were given the hardware and 2 games at the completion of the 16-week program. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Objectively measured daily moderate-to-vigorous and vigorous physical activity, percentage overweight, and BMI z score. RESULTS Participants in the program and active gaming group exhibited significant increases in moderate-to-vigorous (mean [SD], 7.4 [2.7] min/d) and vigorous (2.8 [0.9] min/d) physical activity at week 16 (P < .05). In the program-only group, a decline or no change was observed in the moderate-to-vigorous (mean [SD] net difference, 8.0 [3.8] min/d; P = .04) and vigorous (3.1 [1.3] min/d; P = .02) physical activity. Participants in both groups exhibited significant reductions in percentage overweight and BMI z scores at week 16. However, the program and active gaming group exhibited significantly greater reductions in percentage overweight (mean [SD], -10.9% [1.6%] vs -5.5% [1.5%]; P = .02) and BMI z score (-0.25 [0.03] vs -0.11 [0.03]; P < .001). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Incorporating active video gaming into an evidence-based pediatric weight management program has positive effects on physical activity and relative weight. TRIAL REGISTRATION Identifier: NCT01757925.

Concepts: Cancer, Obesity, Physical exercise, Body mass index, Dieting, Video game, Exergaming, Video game console


Active gaming technologies, including the Nintendo Wii and Xbox Kinect, have become increasingly popular for use in stroke rehabilitation. However, these systems are not specifically designed for this purpose and have limitations. The aim of this study was to investigate the feasibility of using a suite of motion-controlled games in individuals with stroke undergoing rehabilitation.

Concepts: Wii, Nintendo, Nintendo GameCube, Virtual Console, Nintendo DS, Satoru Iwata, Video game console, Analog stick


While the health and well-being benefits of physical activity are recognised, people with multiple sclerosis (MS) often face greater barriers than the general population. The Nintendo Wii potentially offers a fun, convenient way of overcoming some of these. The aim was to test the feasibility of conducting a definitive trial of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of Mii-vitaliSe; a home-based, physiotherapist-supported Nintendo Wii intervention.

Concepts: Wii, Nintendo, Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo GameCube, Virtual Console, Nintendo DS, Satoru Iwata, Video game console