Bern serious games for cognitive enhancement

Vanessa Vallejo

Besides better understanding the influence of cognitive impairments on mobility and traffic participation, we also aim to develop new means to improve and maintain cognitive performance and prevent cognitive decline as long as possible. In collaboration with other European and Swiss researchers, we develop home-based cognitive and physical training based on both innovative gaming platforms (e.g. Wii and Kinect) and specifically developed serious games. Immersive “game-like” environments, also known as Serious Games, where participants use an “in-world” representation, an avatar, to engage in a variety of activities in a shared space, could play a promising role in seniors’ lives, as  entertainment as well as therapeutic value (McCallum, 2012; Wiemeyer & Kliem, 2012; Tarnanas et al, 2013). The theme of the Serious Games can be adapted, depending on cultural characteristics or according to the cognitive deficits of the user. The fundamental processes of cognitive training are repeating specific procedures and providing personalized guidance to seniors. Providing immediate feedback and adaptive interventions during the training could enhance the performance of the patient; lead to better results, and strengthen further the motivation of the patient to perform better, which has been proven for the real-life transfer of cognitive training and the reduction of the disease’s deterioration.

To this direction, the goal of this project scope is to develop novel Serious Games, which can improve, maintain, or restore mental functions. We will place a special focus on adaptive difficulty levels, allowing error-free learning that is expected to increase motivation, fun, and self-confidence.

Bern Serious Games simulation of everyday activities for early screening and adaptive cognitive stimulation