ABSTRACT: Art Therapy is a variation of psychotherapy used to promote self-expression and self-confidence through drawing, sculpture, or painting. When used in conjunction with traditional therapies, it may alleviate pain associated with various pathologies or painful treatments like chemotherapy. While there is a paucity of research on the subject, art therapy appears to be more effective for subjects when used as a method for distraction. College freshmen are known to be at-risk for depression. Learned helplessness and pessimism are thought to contribute to this depression, and thus therapies that bolster self-esteem are known to help. Consequently, we developed a game where college freshmen learn to draw as preemptive therapy. We seek to improve self-esteem by demonstrating that difficult drawings can be accomplished with practice. It is predicted that reports of self-esteem will be enhanced because our drawing game can adapt to user performance in real time. Volunteers from the York College Research Subjects Pool will play a game where they have to complete several drawings in response to photographs or creative challenges. Upon completion, subjects will rate the success of their attempt. The self-reports of quality will be used to adjust task difficulty in succeeding trials using psychophysical staircase procedure. If this program is successful, we will consider developing a method to include exposure therapy in a game. Under proper supervision, a therapist might use our game as a safe way of introducing potentially stressful content to a patient. The therapist can use the game to regulate exposure therapy in a quantitative manner.

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Fig 1