June 08, 2006

Free Online Game to Reduce Social Stress, Improve Self Esteem

As we've reported in the past, research indicates that people who have schizophrenia are more likely to suffer from social stress and have difficulty interpreting facial expressions. Additionally, research is suggesting that if you can lower the levels of social stress then people who have schizophrenia will be less likely to relapse, and more likely to have good outcomes. There have also been research that suggests that children who have lower social stress have a lower risk of developing schizophrenia.

There is a new free internet-based game that has been developed by psychiatric researchers at McGill University in Canada. The game has in at least one scientific study been proven to improve self esteem and lower social stress. It seems possible that this might also be of significant value to people who have schizophrenia as well as family members. An advanced version is also available for purchase ($17.99) for download to your computer from the Mindhabits web site.

We encourage you to try the game (see below). After trying it for a week or two - leave us a comment below and let us know whether you find it helpful at all. To start, just click on the "Play the Game" button below, and then find the smiling face and click on it as fast as you can. You can play for as long and as frequently as you like.

To play the game - go to: MindHabits

The game was developed by a small company in Montreal named MindHabits, Inc. (founded by the researchers from McGill University).

Company: MindHabits, Inc.

Additional Information on Social Stress and Schizophrenia:

Social stress as a factor in triggering schizophrenia

Facial recognition software helps treat schizophrenia

Schizophrenia linked to limited understanding of body language


I have been given a diagnosis of schizophrenia, however when it comes to interpreting facial expressions I find that it is NOT that I cannot interpret the underlying emotion, but that I sometimes seem to be the object of unwarranted hatred or disdain. The hatred/aggression has even been experienced when asking directions of a shop assistant in a town where I am a complete stranger, for exasmple. So I am left struggling to continue a conversation when I have two possible understandings of it's nature, one based on the reasonable , objective understanding of the context and content of the conversation, the other on the emotion coming from the other participant. I am sure of the nature of the interaction as I had on the last occasion that this happened in the same few hours undertaken the same conversation with a number of other people, all of whom showed more or less positive emotion. I guess this may seem paranoid, but one feels that a small minority of people, even in a town an hours journey from home, seem to have some kind of prejudice against one. Could it be that information is circulated amongst certain networks about people who have the diagnosis? And if it is then which networks and how circulated? It certainly does not include all shop assistants as the majority are positive..... food for thought?

Posted by: pete at June 10, 2006 03:06 PM

I have had a diagnosis for over a year, like the above poster I too thought that I have no problems interpreting peoples facial expressions. And also thought that people knew me, although in my case it was not hatred but love of an obsessive kind. I now realise that I was in psychosis. It is amazing how the brain works and how are perceptions are not necessarily the truth.

Posted by: Marcus at June 12, 2006 06:04 AM

can't effectively test your game since all of the faces don't fit on the screen and you have to keep using the scroll bar to find the smiling face ... not a good test

Posted by: Mary at July 4, 2006 08:36 PM

There is no 'play button' visible to click on, so what kind of game is this? :)

Posted by: Sue at November 20, 2007 09:25 AM

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