Using Serious Games to (Re)Train Cognition in Adolescents

  • Wouter J. Boendermaker
  • Margot Peeters
  • Pier J. M. Prins
  • Reinout W. Wiers


Cognitive training has been studied in the context of many psychological disorders, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, depression, and addiction. While several studies have found clinically relevant training effects, both in preclinical (experimental) and in clinical settings, cognitive training is often experienced as rather boring. Therefore, several studies have recently started to integrate serious gaming techniques into cognitive training paradigms to enhance motivation to train, especially among younger subjects. In this chapter, we discuss the relevant theoretical frameworks supporting both the trainings and the gamification techniques, review several attempts that have been made so far, and discuss the progress that has currently been made. The chapter will end with a number of recommendations, based on published evidence, as well as our own experience in this field.


Cognitive training Substance use Adolescents Serious games 



This chapter elaborates on a previously published paper in the 2015 Joint Conference on Serious Games (JCSG) proceedings, as Boendermaker, W. J., Prins, P. J. M., & Wiers, R. W. (2015). Prevention in Addiction: Using Serious Games to (re)train Cognition in Dutch Adolescents. In S. Göbel, M. Ma, J. Baalsrud Hauge, M. F. Oliveira, J. Wiemeyer, & V. Wendel (Eds.), Serious Games: First Joint International Conference, JCSG 2015, Huddersfield, UK, June 3-4, 2015, Proceedings (pp. 173–178). Switzerland: Springer International Publishing. doi:  10.1007/978-3-319-19126-3_15.

This research was supported by the National Initiative Brain & Cognition Grant 433-11-1510 of the Dutch National Science Foundation, awarded to the third and fourth author, as well as a VICI grant (453-08-001), awarded to the fourth author, both from the Dutch National Science Foundation, NWO.

Declaration of Interest

Dr. Prins is a member of the Foundation Gaming & Training, a nonprofit organization that develops and implements online interventions for children and adolescents.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wouter J. Boendermaker
    • 1
  • Margot Peeters
    • 1
  • Pier J. M. Prins
    • 2
  • Reinout W. Wiers
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Social Sciences: Cultural Diversity & YouthUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Developmental PsychologyUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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