More and more researchers are finding anxiety and stress as critical health problems influencing quality of life and various illnesses. Studies suggest gardening activities help with anxiety. Our goal is to create engaging ways for people to interact with plants and eventually reduce anxiety and stress. We made three short games employing a person’s touch interaction with a plant as the input interface. Each of the three games implements a unique interaction: tapping, patting, and gentle pinching. We then tested the games with ten players, among whom five of them (the plant group) played the games with the plant as the input interface. The other five (the non-plant group) played the games with a pressure sensor board. The plant group showed decreased anxiety with a borderline statistical significance (p=0.054) with Cohen’s d of 0.20 (i.e., ‘small’ effect), while the non-plant group showed a non-significant decrease in anxiety after the gameplay (p=0.65). We further examined which in-game elements contributed to calming the participants as well as the design elements that need to be improved for plant-based games.
- Taiwoo Park, Tianyu Hu, and Jina Huh. 2016. Plant-based Games for Anxiety Reduction. In Proceedings of the 2016 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (CHIPlay), 199–204.