SuperBetter described in Four working elements

Hi Judith,

You know that I am very interested in Social Health Games like SuperBetter. Or should I call it a MMARRG (Massive Multiplayer Alternate Reality Game). However you are aware about my interest and know that it probably will be the topic (or part of the topic) of my PhD research. In the first steps on my PhD quests I have to convince my teamplayers and mentors of SuperBetter being a tool that can be used in a health care environment and that it has some scientific background (and isn’t JUST a game).

I have posted several posts in Dutch (1, 2, 3 and 4) to describe SuperBetter and if you don’t want to reach Dutch, listen to Jane in the English Youtube movies. She explains it a lot better than I can :). I am also impressed by the Science part of the Secret Lab that they have included in SuperBetter.


But as you see, that is a lot of linking to research on the ‘elements’ on which SuperBetter is based. Combined with all the scientific links from Jane’s ‘Reality is Broken’ is a big bulk of scientific resources to view, examine en review. And I noticed that in discussions with Huibert and Sandra that I couldn’t state the working components within SuperBetter.

Off course: Goal setting is an obvious one. That is the first working element which is extracted instantly, even after a short introduction on SuperBetter from me. The special way of goal setting that is used in games to reach Epic goals and to broaden and build is especially promoted in SuperBetter. And ‘off course’ questing is used to set and reach those goals.

A second working element is: Social relationships and health. And in my case the influence of social relationships and the effort/energy that goes into the process of health (or even education). This seems at a first glance one of the minor researched topics and for me is one of the important ones.

The third working element is combined in one word: Positivity. Well it can’t get any closer to my desires how I want to research, work, teach and live. You can see that the developers have used a lot of influences from Positive Psychology into this game. Terms like: A positive explanatory style, positive body image, self acceptance, but also the 3:1 ratio (3 positive events can ‘wipe’ away 1 negative emotion) which are used with powerups and heroic narrating (used within the field of post traumatic growth) all fit in this element.

Willpower and how to train it (the field of Kelly McGonigal) is in my categorization the fourth working element described in the research vault of SuperBetter. Topics that are further explained and supported by research links are lazy exercise (physical influences the mind), accept and embrace stress (Physiology and Neurobiological) and the Power to Quit anything.

Resilience is like the fifth Beatle. It isn’t exactly a working element, more like a state of being. All of these working elements result in more or less resilience of some kind. It is part of the feedback mechanism of the game. You can see it as the commodity in which you are paid. So it is part of all four elements and therefore not a separate element that influences the player. Research on it is retrievable within all the separate elements.

Concluding in my categorization there are four working elements in SuperBetter: Goalsetting, Social Relationships, Positive Psychology, and Willpower which all result in better Mental, Emotional, Physical or Social Resilience, which can help a patient (Or perhaps student) in better coping his/her (health care process) tasks.

Now I hope that I have grasped the essence and that you understand it Judith.

With kind regards




Geplaatst op 12 november 2013, in 2 B PhD JAMS, All PhD Posts, English Jam, Miscellaneous. Markeer de permalink als favoriet. Een reactie plaatsen.

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