The Yale Center for Health & Learning Games builds and evaluates videogames that aim to prevent adverse outcomes and promote healthy lives in youth and young adults, using the most rigorous scientific methods.
With extensive expertise in behavioral science and health behaviors, our team pioneers innovative methods that embed established behavioral change theories (e.g. social learning theory, the theory of planned behavior, and prospect theory), ensuring that our videogame interventions have substantial impact on our target outcomes. Our approach addresses youth and young adults at risk for critical public health and social issues, including drug and alcohol use, HIV prevention, mental health, STI/HIV testing, health and wellness promotion, and youth violence. Given the prevalence of these risks for youth, and our Center’s unique niche in creating engaging and effective videogame interventions addressing them, the Center will continue to have a powerful and sustained impact going forward.
Building on the many successes of the play2PREVENT Lab and based on the exemplary model of our first videogame PlayForward: Elm City Stories, the Center established the PlayForward Prevention Platform, upon which we have built all of our subsequent videogames. This platform allows us to use the relevant assets from prior games to expand on a new game’s focus as we continue to build a portfolio of theory-driven, evidence-based serious videogame interventions for youth and young adults. Our Center emphasizes the use of theoretical constructs and scientific evidence to build videogame interventions and metrics-driven analyses of target outcomes; train and educate the next generation of serious games researchers; establish best practices in the field; cultivate partnerships with academic, industry/organizations, and government stakeholders, offering consultation and guidance and collaboration. To this end, we offer opportunities for structured internships and training experiences to students and trainees ranging from high school students to post-doctoral fellows and junior faculty with both didactic and field research training.