Marlou Poppelaars

About Marlou Poppelaars

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Marlou Poppelaars is a PhD student at the Radboud University in Nijmegen, where she previously obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Pedagogical Sciences and Research Master’s degree in Behavioural Science. During her Research Master, Marlou conducted a study on the short-term behavioural effects of pro- and anti-social video games in primary school children. Additionally, she conducted an RCT evaluating the effectiveness of two depression prevention programs – a traditional, classroom-based program (OVK, based on the Penn Resiliency Program) and a video game designed for depression prevention (SPARX). Currently, her project focuses on mechanisms in commercially available video games that may promote mental health in adolescents. Ultimately, she would like to help develop an engaging video game that promotes mental health.

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Biography and Research Interests

In a project focusing on one of the most captivating media in modern day society, video games, Marlou has a deep interest in the motivational aspects of utilizing video games for ‘good’. She is interested in studying how autonomy, competence and relatedness play a role in motivating adolescents in playing a game which can potentially improve their mental health. Additionally, the role of narrative within video games is one of her main interests.

Video games are promising for mental health interventions because they potentially combine engagement with learning mental health promoting skills. Therefore, it is crucial to understand both the motivational aspects of video game play as well as the game play mechanics that are (part of) effective mental health interventions. Additionally, understanding the differences in game play experience and effectiveness between individuals may prove essential.