Yanko Oliveira

Game Developer

A Framework for Gameplay-Based Specific Phobia Exposure Therapy

In a past life, I was a MSc student. In fact, my research was the very reason for me to start writing in a blog again.

Short recap: I made a game to treat my wife’s severe arachnophobia. It worked out great. I had to move to another state for work and couldn’t get an extension to my dissertation’s deadline. In the end, I opted to become a game developer instead of a Master of Science.

No regrets, except the fact that maybe my work could help people, had it been published. There was a lot of buzz on virtual phobia treatment the past few years because of the VR boom, but I still haven’t found something exactly like my research: my focus is specifically on approaching the problem using gameplay, not bells and whistles.

I summarized my dissertation in a paper in English a couple of years ago, including the resulting data from the experiments, but never published it, as I had no way of peer reviewing it. Then I realized that it makes no sense not to do it because, after all, the one thing worse than withholding research behind a paywall is withholding research for no reason at all.

You can download the paper here.

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