Isabela Granic

About Isabela Granic

[email protected]

Isabela Granic was born in Romania, did her undergraduate and graduate work in Toronto and got her PhD at the University of Toronto in Canada. She is currently professor at the Behavioural Science Institute and Chair of the Developmental Psychopathology program at Radboud University Nijmegen. She tries to understand what sorts of interventions work for anxious and aggressive children and adolescents, why and how they work, and for whom they often fail. The mental health benefits of gaming is one of her more recent research obsessions, one she is cultivating through proper empirical investigations and regular competitions with her 8-year old twin boys.

Blog Posts

Interview on Doc Talks: The benefits of gaming

I’m thrilled to share this recent interview for which I was fortunate to be asked to take part, aired on the widely watched Doc Talks series here in the Netherlands. If you want a quick primer on the research on the potential benefits of playing video games and our vision for developing games to improve […] read more

Play is evolutionarily and developmentally important

Although I have only been studying the effects of video games on children’s development for a brief while, the positive function of play more generally was an important field of study when I was receiving my graduate training in developmental psychology. The benefits of play (not specific to video games) have been studied for decades in […] read more

What you learn in games has real-world implications

I love this quote by Benjamin Franklin on the generalizability of lessons learned in chess to the real world. I’ve read it in several places, the last of which came from an interesting read I’ve been delving into this week, The Art of Failure, by Juul Jesper: “The game of Chess is not merely an […] read more

Parenting advice on screen time

I just finished a review paper on the potential benefits of playing video games. Having spent approximately 6 months reading, LITERALLY, every single scientific study on the matter, my colleagues and I had a great deal to say about the research on the subject and we’ve now submitted the paper to share with other academics […] read more

Video assignments in Developmental Psychopathology course

I’m teaching a graduate course in Developmental Psychopathology and this year I thought I’d do something different. Instead of the usual 10-min powerpoint presentations that all students end up doing ad nausea in their grad career, I gave a group video assignment. Five groups of 5 students each have to come up with a video […] read more

Anxiety and Aggression: An Intro blurb

One of my main lines of research examines the link between anxiety and aggression in children and adolescents. I’ve been writing a lot about this rarely explored link. Here’s an abstract of a recent review paper I’m submitting. In the next few months, I’d like to post a bunch of research findings that provide at […] read more

What emotions do games elicit?

I recently was challenged by a colleague about the potential of games to elicit the range of emotions we feel. He could imagine games eliciting frustration, anxiety and anger. But how about sadness? No way can a game truly induce a sense of loss, real sadness… Right? Wrong. I introduced him to Passage. He got […] read more

Why games? Part II

We think that by focusing on a set of critical empowerment tools, we can both promote healthy development and at the same time prevent serious forms of psychopathology. So why games? The problem is that none of our current prevention programs work all that well. For at least 3 reasons: (1) We have major problems […] read more

Why games? Part I

Hi there and welcome to this first attempt at what I hope will be an ongoing blogging forum for new ideas of all sorts. For now, I’m going to be trying to use this space to explore some thinking about why my colleagues and are getting very turned on to using video games to empower […] read more

Biography and Research Interests

Isabela Granic is Professor of Developmental Psychopathology at Radboud University Nijmegen. She received her PhD in Developmental Psychology from the University of Toronto, Canada. She studies parenting, peer and therapeutic relationship processes in order to better understand the social and emotional mechanisms that contribute to the development and maintenance of child and adolescent psychopathology and how to best intervene to change these processes. A large part of her program of research aims to explain the variability in evidence-based interventions by identifying the processes and mechanisms of change associated with successful intervention. Some of the questions prof Granic is pursuing include: (1) How do parent-child and peer interactions change as a function of successful intervention? (2) What sorts of therapeutic relationships are most predictive of successful outcomes? (3) How does successful treatment impact on the functioning of emotion-regulation centers in the brain? She also has a line of research that examines the mental health benefits of playing video games. Her program of research has been funded by national and international granting agencies including the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR), the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Open Competitie MaGW (NWO) and Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Her findings have been published in top-tiered psychology and developmental journals including Psychological Review, Development and Psychopathology, Developmental Psychology, Biological Psychiatry, and Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology.

She aims to develop innovative theories that push conventional models towards being more comprehensive, while also becoming more multidisciplinary and precise. Equally important, she wants these theories to make practical sense. Thus, a significant proportion of her research has been conducted with local community agencies that deliver interventions to the often “messy” real world of distressed families, with comorbid problems. Although these clinical contexts pose significant scientific challenges, the results that have emerged have led to theoretical and practical innovations that would not have otherwise been possible.