Can board games make you happier?

Can board games improve mental health? I think so. I am a total board game geek, and we have a good chunk of a bookcase bursting with them. We are also in the process of ‘up-geeking’ our kids (favourites at the moment include Catan Junior and Castle Panic if you are interested 😉 ). They are a fun way to spend time, give you small, solvable problems to engage with and a sense of reward (or loss of course!). But is there more to it?

Board games and mental health

Although I love playing games, I never really thought of the effect that they can have on mental health before. But I recently stumbled across a blog from a board game developer which explores just this – from a very personal and insightful perspective. It is a powerful piece and makes a strong argument that board games – or more accurately the opportunities they provide – can improve mental health in a fairly unique way. To me, it also highlights the importance of social connections and made me think of other collective activities I’ve written about before, like gardening, singing, and others. These are all things which are tougher or impossible to do at the moment for many of us, and that makes me sad. It also reminds me we need to find meaningful substitutes for these forms for connection and psychological nourishment.

Anyhow, you can check out the blog which triggered these musings via the link below.

Blog post from ITB, who also develop cool games!

Take care till next time


Dan

Coming soon: The Handbook of Alcohol Use: Understandings from Synapse to Society

Alcohol use and misuse is complex and multifaceted. Our understanding must be also….

Alcohol use and misuse is complex and multifaceted.  Our understanding must be also.

alcoholhandbookcover

As I wrote last month, one of the big projects of 2019/20 was the compilation of an alcohol handbook. I am super excited that this is now available for preorder! The handbook came about from observations that while it is recognised that ‘alcohol’ is a complex, multi level phenomena our understandings are typically limited to one set of systems. So, the bio folk focus on bio, the public health on public health, etc. As a result, perhaps the different parts of the field are not learning do much as they could from one another. Translating theory to practice is also a challenge!

What we wanted to achieve with this volume was to compile a book showcasing the work of the amazing group of researchers, practitioners and those with lived experience in the area. However, we wanted to do this in a way which highlighted each of the various levels of understanding, explored how they compliment and contrast, and how they can be used in practice.

To be honest, most of the hard work was done by the author chapters (we have 26 chapters and probably close over 60 authors in total!). They did an amazing job and I am super proud of the end result :-). A massive thank you to Prof. Ian Albery (who co-Edited the book with me), the authors (especially!) and our publishing team at Academic Press. They all made the journey of pulling it together so enjoyable 🙂

Edited by Daniel Frings and Ian P. Albery, the handbook is now available for pre-order. If you are interested in finding out more, you can read the full blurb, and see how to order, here.

Where did PiB go?

It’s been a unique (for most of us) year….

Covid-19 has obviously changed pretty much everything for pretty much everybody this year… Much like everyone else I have been juggling work and family, and securing sufficient supplies of toilet roll. I’ve also had a few projects on the go – not least of which is the compilation of a new handbook on alcohol use (working with Prof. Ian Albery and a featuring a host of amazing authors – more on this soon – including a cover reveal :-)). I have also completed the first stage of my training to be a counsellor which is super exciting – I embarked on the second stage of this journey this month. It is a lot of work (and personal development), but really interesting 🙂

All in all, I’ve not had a chance to post a lot in 2020, and that’s a real shame- but I hope to try to get a few more out in the remainder of the year and the in 2021 – fingers crossed!

Take care, and I hope to be posting more soon!

Help us learn more about our responses to COVID19

It is a strange and, for many, a really difficult time. I hope you are all managing as well as possible and that your and yours are all doing ok…

I know its been a while since the last post (hopefully that will change soon) but I think that a project I am currently taking part in may be of interest to many of you, and I wanted to share an opportunity to take part…

What is the ‘psychology’ of epidemic diseases?

This is the question we are exploring! I’m part of a team at London South Bank University who are exploring how we respond psychologically to events such as the COVID19 outbreak – we have some studies we have completed the initial phases of work for already (such as looking at how being in a group changes the way we feel about disease), but also some that are currently recruiting. If you’d like to help us, you may be able to volunteer to take part in one in particular…

What does it involve?

In brief, we are looking for people to spend about 30-40 minutes with us to do an interview via phone or Skype, discussing how they seek out, understand and evaluate information around corona virus.

Who can take part?

We are looking for volunteers who are English speakers living in the UK who are aged between 20-30 years old and also UK ex-pats who live in Hong Kong of any age.

How can I find out more?

Easy! just email me at fringsd@lsbu.ac.uk and we will be in touch with an information sheet which has full details 🙂 Equally, please share this invite with anyone you know who may be interested and eligible to take part 🙂

In anycase…

Regardless of whether this is of interest or not, I really hope you are all able to stay as healthy (physically and, of course, psychologically) as possible over the coming weeks, not matter what is thrown at you. I also hope that when silver linings do appear (whether this is being less busy and taking time to yourself, being more busy learning new skills, or just appreciating the sunshine through kitchen window) you are able to grab the opportunity…

Do you know people in AA?

As part of our ongoing research programme into social identity and the role it plays in recovery,  Prof Ian Albery and I are currently running an online study exploring how people who are members of AA perceive and are affected by hearing other people’s life stories. The survey takes around 15 minutes to complete. There is no participant payment, but we hope the study will help improve our understanding of recovery and thus help people in the long-term.

We’re looking for around 150 people to take part, so if you know anyone who may be interested – or groups who could promote the study –  please do let them know. People can find out more, and take part, via this link;

https://lsbupsychology.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_8qpuoQmOmcTbn9P

Participants must be English speakers who are AA members, and participation is completely anonymous.

Thanks in advance to anyone who helps 😊

Who writes fake news and why?

BREAKING: Clinton Foundation Ship Seized at Port of Baltimore Carrying Drugs, Guns and Sex Slaves

Seriously?

Fake news is a combination of the psychology of persuasion (how to design a message people will buy by carefully thinking about the audience, message source and content). It is also a striking example of the power of social identity – people often much prefer and share stories which bash the ‘other’ and loudly protest when their own are smeared.

But where does fake news come from? And why do people write it? I read a super article on bbc news today (which, despite occasional protests, probably isn’t fake!) which explores this in depth – I urge you to do the same. Written by Anisa Subedar, it’s informative and, in my opinion, beautifully written…

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/the_godfather_of_fake_news

Enjoy and have a super day!

Expectancy value approaches to motivation

The expectancy value theory of motivation is perhaps one of the simplest, but most useful, formulations of the psychology of motivation. Why do do we do things? According to expectancy approaches, because we think that they will probably generate an outcome we value. But is there more to it than that? What is it that makes some goals seem attainable? And is it better to ‘shoot the moon’ for a high value outcome which is likely to be unattainable, or are we better going for something smaller,but more likely..?

Lets explore expectancy value theory in more depth….

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You should not hit your kids.

An end to physical punishment of children.

Should anyone, ever, hit their children? The weight of evidence from the psychological literature has leaned increasingly in the direction of ‘no’, but recent research presents the strongest case yet. A recent review1 pulls the vast body of work in this area together and makes strong case against physical punishment – likening it’s effects to straight-up physical abuse. The scale of this issue is staggering: in 2012, amongst 11,000 US families surveyed, 30% of mothers of pre-schoolers admitted hitting their children in the last week, and 80% said they believed in it as a parenting tool 2 . Large numbers of health care professionals also think physical punishment can be, in moderation, a useful (or at least harmless) parenting tool.
But how do these beliefs stand up in front of the evidence? And what other parenting options are there?
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Free Social Prescribing event in London

The future of social prescribing workshop.

Some time ago, I wrote a post on social prescribing. Since then, I have ended up doing some research in this field. I am also helping to host a British Psychological Society sponsored workshop exploring ‘Challenges to Social Prescribing’. The London event will be taking place in November. If your are involved in the field, or just plain interested, I would love it if you could join us…. I am even giving a talk 🙂  Find out more below…

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Intrinsic motivation and extrinsic rewards

Intrinsic vs extrinsic motivation

Understanding how intrinsic and extrinsic forms of motivation differ helps us plan our activities and stay engaged with tasks at hand. Intrinsic motivation is based on inner values, whilst extrinsic is based on contingent rewards. But how can we harness our internal motivation and how (and when) do extrinsic rewards help (or hinder)? Read on to find more…

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