HomeArchiveGames being used to treat criminals, psychopaths; early reports show promise

Games being used to treat criminals, psychopaths; early reports show promise

According to a study performed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, custom-made, specifically tailored games are being utilized to assist treatment of criminals who have been deemed psychopaths. Early reports of the games treatment show promise.

A Yale psychologist who collaborated with colleagues on the aforementioned study, Arielle Baskin-Sommers, stated that the underlying issue with psychopathic criminals is their lack of empathy for others due to their failure to consider or understand  how the various consequences their actions impact those around them. Baskin-Sommers believes this trait can be treated with video games.

Read more about how games are being used to treat criminals after the break.


Custom Games Used To Treat Criminals

Video Games being used to treat criminals, psychopaths, promising early reports

Baskin-Sommers said the following on the matter (courtesy of Yale News):

They are also the world’s worst multi-taskers and tend not to process information, such as pain and suffering of others, when they are engaging in criminal acts.

Treatments for individuals with antisocial behavior, such as such psychopaths, are woefully inadequate. Hopefully, findings such as ours will lead to more efficient interventions for our most recalcitrant prisoners.”

Baskin-Sommers and company developed a treatment that tasked criminals deemed as psychopaths with playing video games designed to train them to consider and recognize stimuli unrelated to their goal, with the ultimate end realizing in the criminals’ recognition of a swath of important cues. 

Their findings showed marked improvement in the criminals’ behavior and ability to exhibit emotion and empathy.

The study emphasizes the fact that the games are specifically targeted to neurobiological conditions specific to psychopaths, but will not benefit all criminals.

In some cases, the study showed that when some of the games were given to prisoners with different forms of antisocial behavior, their behaviors actually became worse. However, when non-psychopathic prisoners were treated with games designed for their specific disorder, their condition improved.

While the study’s findings are still in relative infancy, the full results are expected to be published in the near future.


What are your thoughts on this news? Do you find it interesting? Why or why not? Do you think video games can be used as treatment for individuals with various psychological disorders? Is it a good idea to do so?

Let us know in the comments section below! As always, stay tuned to Gamer Headlines for the latest in video game and technology news.