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Measuring and Communicating Emotions through Game Design

Eva Knutz , Thomas Markussen

This paper explores how emotion research may inform the design of a playful interactive tool for emotion measurement and communication, called Child Patient Game (CPgame) that has been developed for paediatric patients at a Danish hospital. The CPgame differs from other instruments in that it uses digital narrative and game play as means for self-report. In so doing it integrates play, communication and measurement in one and the same device. First it gives 4-6 year old hospitalized children an opportunity to learn how to cope with their own emotional reactions to medical treatment through game play. Second, healthcare personal and design researchers can use the CPgame to gain knowledge of this patient group as it measures the children?s subjective feelings about their emotions. In the paper we discuss how key theoretical concepts of emotion may help the designer to indentify the basic building blocks of emotions and to distinguish closely related emotions from each other. Further, by comparing various methods and techniques for emotion measurement, we argue that design research offers more sensitive techniques for self-report measurement for children than psychology and the behavioural sciences.

Healthcare, user experience, Game Design, Research & Design Methodologies