préparé pour la conférence de presse
et bienvenue. Merci d’etre venu.
name is Mark Baldwin, and I am a psychology professor at McGill University.
I will be speaking mostly in English today; in a few moments Stephane
Dandeneau will try to balance that out by speaking mostly in French.
we are excited to tell you about the publication of two articles on
self-esteem, that will be appearing in the coming weeks in prestigious,
peer-reviewed psychology journals.
research has shown that specially-designed computer games can help people
build habits of thought that may improve their self-esteem.
self-esteem is unpleasant. I think we all know that how you feel about
yourself is an important part of who you are, and your overall sense
of wellbeing. Low self-esteem involves feeling insecure, unhappy with
yourself, and dissatisfied with who you are.
It involves certain self-critical thoughts, such as thinking you are
unworthy, or that you are inadequate or unlikable in some way.
of us might like to boost our sense of self-acceptance and security,
but sometimes it is not clear why we feel the way we do. Research has
shown that low self-esteem results from certain habits of thought, many
of which, at their core, involve worrying about rejection by others.
Research has demonstrated that low and high self-esteem are produced
by different habits of thought.
example, imagine walking into a room full of people. If you have relatively
low self-esteem you assume you do not have a lot to offer, so you may
expect that you are going to be rejected. Because you are worried about
this, you will be vigilant for rejection and your attention will be
drawn to the one or two people in the room who seem to be scowling a
bit. You may assume that their expression has something to do with YOU,
and so you may spend time imagining different reasons why they are rejecting
you. The more you think in this way, the more you create a link, so
that every time you think of yourself, you think of being rejected.
This becomes a vicious cycle: low self-esteem leads to an expectancy
for rejection, which then reinforces your low self-esteem.
you have higher self-esteem, you react quite differently. When you walk
into the room you expect to be accepted, so your attention is drawn
to the one or two people who are smiling warmly at you, and you end
up interacting with them and ignoring or downplaying any negative feedback.
are the kinds of thought processes that maintain people's level of self-esteem.
why is it so hard to change these, and other negative habits of thought?
Why can't people just decide to feel better about themselves? This is
because the thought patterns become automatic. By this we mean that
they happen very quickly and unintentionally, they are difficult to
control, and they can even happen completely unconsciously.
has been a fair amount of research over the past decade on trying to
measure the automatic thought processes related to self-esteem problems,
and we will be discussing some of those measurement techniques. Several
previous studies by other researchers have shown that the thought processes
assessed by these measures do correlate with phenomena of importance,
including people's reactions to stressful situations, persistence in
the face of failure, and so on.
wanted to go beyond just measuring automatic habits of thoughts, to
try to find ways to actually change them. Our research question, then,
was whether we could help people directly modify their automatic habits
of thought, to give them an enhanced sense of security.
drew on our experience with computer games. Anyone who has played a
computer game for hours on end knows that it can eventually start to
change the way you think: A couple of hours playing Tetris, and before
you know it you’re rearranging your closet. This is because you
are doing the same mental act over and over again until it becomes habitual.
We wondered if we could harness this same principle to help people change
the way they think about themselves and their relationships to others.
I mentioned, this research has been carefully reviewed by other scientists
and has been accepted for publication in Psychological Science and the
Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology. These are prestigious journals:
Psychological Science is one of the top psychology journals in the world,
and psychologists from around the world will be reading these findings
in the coming weeks.
a moment, Jodene Baccus will describe the game she researched, in which
she tried to create a link between the self-concept and feelings of
acceptance, rather than rejection. Stephane Dandeneau will describe
a game in which he tried to reduce the vigilance for rejection that
some individuals have. Each student will talk for about 5 minutes. Then
I will have some final comments and we will take questions. But now
we are going to ask Stephane to summarize quickly in French some of
the main points I have just covered.
Mark. Bonjour, je m’appelle Stephane Dandeneau. Je suis Étudiant
au doctorat sous la supervision du Docteur Baldwin. Je vais résumé
l’introduction de Mark.
recherches ont démontré que l’estime de soi découle
de certaines habitudes de pensées. Les habitudes de pensées
associé à une faible estime de soi sont fondamentalement
liées au rejet social.
est-il difficile de modifier les habitudes de pensées? Parce
qu’elles sont automatiques, c’est-à-dire qu’elles
sont des reflex de pensées qui surviennent souvent de façon
inconsciente. Par exemple, quelqu’un d’optimiste voit automatique
le côté positif d’une situation.
chercheurs ont trouvé des façons de mesurer les habitudes
de pensées associées au problème de l’estime
de soi. Nous allons décrire les mesures que nous avons utilisées
dans notre recherche au cours de notre présentation.
pour nous, cependant, est d’aller au delà de mesurer les
habitudes de pensées et de trouver des manières de les
modifier. Notre objectif de recherche est donc de développer
des jeux à l’ordinateur qui pourrait modifier les habitudes
de pensées liés à l’estime de soi.
avons utilisé notre expérience avec les jeux d’ordinateurs
comme modèle. Les personnes qui ont joué des jeux videos
pour plusieurs heures savent comment leur façon de penser peut
éventuellement changer. Quelques heures du jeu Tetris et vous
avez le goût de réorganiser les meubles de votre salon!
Cette habitude de pensée se développe à force de
répéter un processus mental jusqu’à ce que
ça devienne automatique. Suivant le même principe, nous
nous sommes demandé si c’était possible de changer
les habitudes de pensées liées à l’estime
passe maintenant la parole à Jodene, qui vous expliquera le jeu
Wham! Conditionnez votre estime de soi.
Merci Stephane et bonjour.
name is Jodene Baccus and I am a graduate student in Professor Baldwin’s
research lab. I will be completing my PhD next year, and am very excited
about the research we are presenting to you today.
am going to talk to you about the Wham! Self-Esteem Conditioning Game.
The Wham game increases self-esteem. It does this by linking together
thoughts you have about yourself with thoughts of social acceptance.
I’ll explain this further.
I’m going to clarify some of the principles underlying this research,
then I will outline the methodology we used to gather data, and finally
give you an overview of the findings.
some background information on self-esteem:
this research, we looked at an aspect of self-esteem called implicit
self-esteem. Implicit self-esteem is a self-evaluation that occurs unintentionally
and outside of awareness. A person may not be intending to self-evaluate,
or even be aware that they are making a self-evaluation. Implicit self-esteem
is like a “gut feeling” reaction towards the self.
differs from explicit self-esteem, which is a conscious self-report
of how a person feels about him or herself. Explicit self-esteem is
measured using questionnaires that contain items such as “I take
a positive attitude towards myself” and “I feel I have a
number of good qualities”. You can imagine that if you were filling
out a questionnaire that included these statements you would probably
be aware that your self-esteem was being assessed.
self-esteem, on the other hand, is measured in such a way that the person
is not necessarily aware of what is being assessed.
self-esteem measure, and one that we used in our research, is the Implicit
Associations Test, called the IAT. The IAT was developed by other researchers
about five years ago and is now the most widely accepted measurement
tool for assessing implicit self-esteem.
IAT looks at whether you find it easier to associate thoughts about
yourself with good or with bad. For example, some people find it easy
to associate themselves with negative thoughts. They have developed
a habit where thinking of themselves automatically leads to a negative
evaluation. It is easy for them to think of “self” and “bad”
in the same category.
the IAT, people are presented with words and asked to place them into
one of two categories. In one category, they must place words related
to the self (for example “me”, “my”) into the
same category as words that are bad (e.g. “vomit”, “tragedy”).
In the second category, they place words related to “other”
or “good”. The IAT measures how long it takes people to
classify the word. People with high implicit self-esteem will find it
difficult to put “me” in the same category as “tragedy”,
and so take a long time on these trials. People with lower implicit
self-esteem do not find it so difficult to put me and tragedy in the
same category, so are quicker.
– the game uses classical conditioning
conditioning is a principle of learning. Some of you might be familiar
with Pavlov’s study that first demonstrated classical conditioning.
noticed that if a dog were presented with food, it would salivate. He
then presented a tone that was followed by the presentation of food
to the dog. The dog again salivated. Eventually, after repeated pairings,
the dog would salivate when the tone alone was played. The tone and
food had become associated to each other, thus producing the same response.
the Wham! Game, self-relevant information is linked to positive social
of the core thought patterns underlying self-esteem involve interpersonal
relationships. Positive thoughts and feelings about the self arise from
the sense of being securely accepted and positively regarded by others.
Thus, we devised a computer game to repeatedly pair self-relevant information
with positive social feedback. Self-relevant information was the participant’s
own name, birthday, hometown, street, ethnicity, and phone number. Positive
social feedback consisted of photographs of smiling faces.
thought that because smiling faces tend to be associated with acceptance,
repeated pairing of the self with smiling faces would eventually lead
to the self on its own triggering thoughts and feelings of acceptance.
briefly outline the research paradigm:
McGill Undergrads and students from Dawson college in Montreal were
randomly assigned to either the control or experimental version of the
the beginning of the session, all participants entered in some self-relevant
information (e.g. name, birthday).
were instructed that a word would appear in one of four quadrants on
the computer screen, and their task was to click on the word using the
computer mouse as fast as possible. They were also told that doing so
would cause an image to be displayed briefly in that quadrant.
words presented were chosen from those entered by the participant at
the start of the session, as well as from a pre-programmed list of words
fitting the same categories.
In the experimental condition self-relevant words were always paired
with an image of a smiling face. Here is an example of how it looked.
In the control condition a random selection of smiling, frowning, and
neutral photographs followed both self-relevant and non-self-relevant
saw the same number of smiling, frowning, and neutral photographs in
both conditions. However in the experimental conditions, smiling faces
were always paired with self-relevant information
game went on for approximately 5 minutes.
following the game, we measured implicit self-esteem.
also measured aggressive thoughts and feelings by having participants
read some scenarios where they were playing a computer game against
another person who insulted or rejected them. In this scenario, they
were given the opportunity to blast their opponent with some loud noise.
asked participants how loud and how long they would blast their opponent
with the noise. I will return to this measure shortly.
showed that participants in the experimental condition, that is, those
who saw their self-relevant information repeatedly paired with smiling
faces over a period of about 5 minutes, had higher levels of implicit
self-esteem when compared to those in the control condition. The game
strengthened a habit of linking self with acceptance, and this lead
to a higher level of implicit self-esteem.
were also some intriguing results on the measure in which people imagined
blasting someone who had rejected them with loud noise. We found that
the game resulted in lower aggressiveness for a specific group of people.
Participants who began the study low in explicit self-esteem reported
less aggressive thoughts and feelings if they had played the experimental
version of the game. The game seemed to lower the aggressiveness sometimes
associated with low self-esteem. This is a preliminary finding and bears
replication, however given recent suggestions that some video games
increase aggression, we believe it is an important result
the Wham! creates an automatic expectation of secure social acceptance
when thinking about the self.
is important to note that in this study implicit self-esteem was measured
immediately following the game. At this point, we cannot be sure of
how long the effects last. We are just starting a study that will look
at how long this boost to self-esteem might last and also to examine
the effects of playing the game on a daily basis. Mark will talk more
about future research in a few moments.
end, I’ll leave you with the statement from the beginning:
Wham game increases self-esteem. It does this by linking together thoughts
you have about yourself with thoughts of social acceptance.
will be talking to you next about another game that our lab has developed.
Re-bonjour… je vais vous décrire le projet Ayez l’œil,
sur lequel je travail depuis trois ans.
fait d’être accepter ou d’être rejeté
par d’autres personnes a un grand impacte sur nos sentiments d’estime
de soi. Les personnes avec une basse estime de soi ont un passé
de rejet social et anticipe le rejet social. Les personnes avec une
haute estime par contre ont souvent plusieurs personnes qui les acceptent
et se sentent acceptées.
personnes, notamment les ceux avec une basse estime de soi, sont très
vigilant aux information de rejet social puisque cette information les
dérange beaucoup. Les personnes avec un haute estime de soi ne
sont pas vigilant au rejet.
exemple, quelqu’un avec une vigilance excessive au rejet social
pourrait entrer dans une salle comme celle-ci et porter à regarder
aux personnes qui froncent les sourcils ou qui expriment la désapprobation.
Le fait d’être vigilant à ces visages renfrognés
cause cette personne à être doublement plus affecté
au rejet social parce qu’elle intériorise l’information
à laquelle elle regarde.
comment on peut mesurer la vigilance au rejet social?
cette tâche, les participants sont demandés de nommer la
couleur des mots qui apparaissent à l’écran le plus
vite possible. Les mots qui sont présentés à l’écran
sont de trois catégories, neutre (chaise), acceptation sociale
(accepté), et de rejet social (rejeté).
tâche implique donc d’abord le processus automatique de
lire le mot, ainsi que le processus de nommé la couleur, ex.
dire « jaune ». Si la personne est incapable d’ignorer
le mot ou est très sensible au mot, elle va prendre plus de temps
à nommer la couleur. Par exemple, si j’ai une basse estime
de soi et que je suis très vigilant et très sensible au
rejet social, je prendrais plus longtemps à nommer la couleur
du mot « rejeté » que le mot « chaise »
parce que je ne peux pas ignorer le mot « rejeté ».
quelqu’un est vigilant au mot, ils prendront plus de temps à
nommer la couleur. Donc, les interférences Stroop sont créées
lorsque le mot interfère avec le processus de nommé la
recherches ont démontré que les personnes avec une basse
estime de soi prennent plus de temps à nommer la couleur des
mots relatifs au rejet social à comparé aux mots relatif
à l’acceptation social. Ceci signifie qu’ils sont
beaucoup plus vigilants au rejet social qu’à l’acceptation
avons donc développé une tâche qui réduit
cette vigilance excessive au rejet social.
l’œil : la matrice
Tout comme on peut développer l’habitude de prendre 10
grands soupirs lorsqu’on se sent stressé, on peut développer
l’habitude d’ignorer le rejet social autour de nous.
but du jeu Ayez l’œil est de développer l’habitude
d’ignorer le rejet social afin de réduire sa vigilance
excessive au rejet social. Excessive pas TOUT ignorer.
ça fonctionne: Les instructions sont d’identifier le sourire
dans la matrice de visages qui froncent les sourcils, et ce, le plus
vite possible. À force de répéter ceci plus de
100 fois, cette tâche développe chez l’individu l’habitude
mentale de « Cherche le sourire tout en ignorant le rejet autour
de toi ».
méthode de recherche que nous avons utilisé dans notre
laboratoire est la suivante : d’abord nous mesurons l’estime
de soi explicite des participants. Ensuite la moitié des participants
ont complété la tâche Ayez l’œil, l’autre
moitié une tâche contrôle. Après avoir terminé
l’une des tâches de 5 minutes, on a utilisé la tâche
des interférences Stroop pour mesurer la vigilance au rejet social.
résultats du test des interférence Stroop démontrent
qu’après avoir joué au jeux Ayez l’œil,
les personnes avec une basse estime de soi n’avait plus de vigilance
au rejet social. Ils ont appris à ignorer le rejet social, ce
qui a réduit leur vigilance à cette information.
est-ce que c’est important? Parce que ceci peut aider les personnes
qui sont inconfortables dans des situations sociales ou qui ont peur
d’interagir avec des groupes de personnes. Au lieu d’être
constamment dérangé par des pensées de rejet social,
ceci pourrait les mettre plus à l’aise puisqu’ils
ne sont plus vigilants au rejet social.
l’œil est une sorte d’antidote à l’habitude
de porter excessivement attention au rejet social.
- Études à long termes: faire compléter la tâche
plusieurs jours consécutifs.
- Combien de pratique faut-il pour que l’effet soit durable?
de soi est tres complexe, et nos recherches sont encore jeunes.
self-esteem is, in some sense, a skill. And like any other skill, it
requires practice. If you have ever taken up a new sport, or learned
to play a musical instrument, you know that you have to practice a skill
repeatedly until it becomes automatic. Practicing scales on the piano,
for example, gradually builds the skills that enable you to play beautiful
music. We suggest that in much the same way, secure self-esteem requires
the practice of specific habits of thought, and that is what our games
are designed to do. Most important are habits of thought that reinforce
the experience of secure, accepting relationships with others. These
thoughts may help people to turn the vicious cycle of low self-esteem
around: Once people have positive expectations, they often become more
likely to find positive social experiences, which can further nurture
the studies just described to you, we used standard assessment techniques
from scientific psychology to measure people's automatic thought processes.
These measures have previously been shown to correlate with social anxiety
and other aspects of insecurity. When people played our games, their
automatic thought processes were improved compared to other people who
played a placebo game. We also found some beneficial effects on self-reports
of aggressive feelings.
Jodene and Stephane mentioned, we are now examining the effects of playing
the games repeatedly over several days. Initial results indicate that
playing one of the games led people, the next day, to have a reduced
expectation of rejection by others. So, the initial results are promising.
are only beginning to scratch the surface. It is important to stress
that our games certainly do not replace the hard work of psychotherapy.
Self-esteem develops over a lifetime of experience, starting with the
person’s early relationships in childhood, and extending into
adult circumstances, so it is not going to be easy to change. A person's
level of self-esteem is MAINTAINED by certain habits of thought, though,
so if those can be changed the person might be able to learn to be more
plan to examine as many possible applications of these ideas as we can,
and I believe that our continuing research will lead to new ways to
have already begun a project with salespeople, who deal with rejection
everyday in their jobs. We also will examine whether the games might
help children as they develop their own habits of thought.
Maya Sakellaropoulo, the fourth member of our team, we are also developing
another game, which you can see on our selfesteemgames website. In this
game, called “Grow Your Chi”, you have a Chi Pet. Your job
is to click on smiling faces and your name as they float by on clouds.
If you click on enough smiles, your Chi Pet grows fur and becomes happy
and fulfilled. Maya will be available afterwards to show you this game
I mentioned, we are thrilled about the upcoming publications, and we
expect other researchers to be excited by our findings. These articles
represent several years of hard work already: Stephane, Jodene and Maya
are continuing to do a great job and so maybe we'll be back in a year
or two with more findings to tell you about.
you for your interest. Merci d'être venu.