Socially Optimized Learning in Virtual Environments (SOLVE)
Although young men who have sex with men (MSM) are at high risk for contracting HIV, few interventions address the affective/automatic factors (e.g., sexual arousal, shame/stigma) that may precipitate young MSM’s risk-taking. A National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded DVD interactive video intervention that simulated a “virtual date” with guides/mentors reduced sexual risk over 3-months for Black, Latino and Caucasian young MSM. In the current work, limitations of the DVD format (e.g., number of different risk challenges MSM encounter; DVD quickly becomes dated) were addressed with 3-D animated intelligent agents/interactive digital storytelling using a Unity Game platform. The development (e.g., design, art, social science formative research, etc.) of this NIH funded game for changing risky behavior is described as well as the ongoing national randomized “on-line” evaluation over 6 months.
KeywordsVirtual Characters and Agents Narrativity in Games Games for Health HIV Prevention Intelligent Agents PsychSim 3-D Animated Characters Interactive Digital Storytelling (IDS) SOLVE
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