Weekly INT Boost – Mental Illness isn’t Magic?

Photo by Kyle Szegedi

Welcome to our roundup of the best mental health-related articles you may have missed. This week, we have analysis of the missteps of The OA, tips for a long and happy game development career, and research about therapy, VR and Facebook.


Sady Doyle on mental illness, ‘The OA’ & savior narratives

“Believe it or not, this is what living with mental illness is like for many people: A daily, unexceptional process of maintenance, which is only one of a million concerns they need to address over the course of an average day. Mental illness is not especially otherworldly or glamorous, and though it can be intensely painful — illnesses aren’t known for being pleasant — the one thing it does not do is turn you into E.T.”

Over at Screener, Sady Doyle explores the message of The OA and other media that takes a mystical approach to mental health issues. The article includes spoilers for the ending of the series.


Facebook Study Finds Introverts Feel More Comfortable with VR Social Interaction

“This increased confidence and reduced self-consciousness in introverts raises an interesting question about the current effectiveness of VR: did this occur because VR is already powerful, or not powerful enough? It seems that the main reason why introverts are less intimidated in VR is because it doesn’t feel as real as meeting someone face to face, and yet the entire industry is working towards making the experience as real as possible.”

Road to VR covers a recent study conducted by Facebook and Neurons Inc. that established that participants were more comfortable with VR interactions with strangers than face-to-face interactions. It’s not hugely surprising that digital communication is easier, but it’s interesting, given that VR brings with it a few uncomfortable challenges of its own.


Talking To A Therapist Can Literally Rewire Your Brain

‘Over six months of therapy, we found that connections between certain key brain regions became stronger,’ Dr. Liam Mason, a psychiatrist at King’s College and the study’s lead author, told The Huffington Post in an email. ‘What we are really excited about here is that these stronger connections lead to long-term improvements in people’s symptoms and overall recovery across the eight years that we followed them up.’

Researchers followed up on a study that showed CBT strengthened connections in certain areas of the brain associated with assessing social threats, and found that eight years later, those changes continued — and so did the benefits. The Huffington Post has more.


Twenty Things I’ve Learned About Game Development

“Don’t let higher salaries or famous projects be your only driver. Life is too short. If you have an opportunity to be happy, seize it and never let go.

Don’t be seduced by the siren call of going indie unless you’re certain you’ll ship something, or you’ll gain valuable experience in a tool or technology. It’s hard to come back from a failed indie endeavor if you have nothing to show for it.

A project you love will get cancelled. It will break your heart. Fight to try to save it but when push comes to shove, let it go. You’ll love the next game too.”

Game developer Laralyn McWillams visits Gamasutra to share insights garnered from a long game development career.


That’s it for us this week. We’ll be back on Monday with an article on levelling up your social skills from an expert as we finish our last-minute preparations for PAX South. Visit our booth if you’re going to be there! And till then, take care of yourselves — and each other.