#394 – The Benefits of Playing Video Games with Dr. Isabela Granic

Isabela Granic


Dr. Isabela Granic earned her PhD from the University of Toronto in developmental psychology. She is currently Professor and Chair in the Developmental Psychopathology department at Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands. She is also co-Founder of The PlayNice Institute, a non-profit organization that develops video games that promote children’s mental health. Her research integrates clinical psychology and developmental neuroscience with the goal of developing innovative interventions for childhood anxiety and depression. Her current research focuses on the positive effects of playing video games, including cognitive, emotional and social benefits. She is driven to bridge developmental science and game design in order to create a suite of evidence-based video games that can be widely disseminated to promote healthy child development and prevent and treat anxiety and depression. Results from Dr. Granic’s research have been published in the highest impact journals in psychology and neuroscience and she is regularly invited to speak about her work at international conferences.

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A psychology podcast by David Van Nuys, Ph.D.

copyright 2014: David Van Nuys, Ph.D.



  1. Jeffery Vergo
    Posted March 17, 2014 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Hello Dr. Dave,

    My name is Jeff and I’m currently finishing up my graduate training at the University of Indianapolis for my Psy.D. I am a new listener to Shrink Rap Radio and just finished listening to your interview with Dr. Granic. I found the topic most intriguing as I have been an avid gamer since early childhood — I began playing games when I was 5 and am currently 27. I believe that playing video games has had an enormous impact that games have had on my cognitive, social, and emotional development throughout the years. Particularly once I began to play games that were narrative driven. Certain role-playing or story driven action games helped me to consider my own thoughts and perceptions on a variety of emotions and issues that we as humans must deal with. Issues such as love, friendship, sacrifice, hate, and shame to name a few. Many of these experiences were also social as I experienced these with my childhood friends. I very much support the research being done by Dr. Granic as I also believe that games have the amazing potential to serve roles for children and even adults that far exceed that of enjoyment or recreation. This topic is also particularly relevant to me as my wife and I just welcomed our first child into the world last week and I find myself considering how I might use games to foster our own relationship and his emotional and neurocognitive development.

  2. phwaap
    Posted March 22, 2014 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Good interview on an interesting topic. I was part of the first generation to have widespread access to gaming consoles and, even before then, my friends and I were regulars at the arcades. I have continued to play a variety of games intermittently, including competitively for significant spans.

    I’m not a big proponent of the idea, however, that games need to educational or useful in any way. When I think back to what has been most memorable about gaming, it was almost always the exploratory and imaginative aspects. Everything kids do these days, particularly in the US, seems to need a SMART metric attached to it, otherwise it’s deemed superfluous. If it can’t be put on a college application, it’s out. We’re somehow under the illusion that play and games all of the sudden need the justification of research science..

  3. Posted April 2, 2014 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Great interview, refreshing view of gaming and even more so regarding education.

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