Mindset is a five-person project team at Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center for the Fall 2017 semester. More information is found on the project website.

We are working in collaboration with iThrive Games to create a suite of micro-games designed to encourage and empower pro-social behavior in high school students. iThrive Games is a team of social and emotional learning experts, psychologists, and game developers that brings together game studios, teen development experts, and positive psychology experts to explore how great games can empower teens to discover and use their unique strengths, unlock their potential, and take charge of their well-being. Each game will focus on one of three positive psychology constructs: Curiosity, Growth Mindset, and Empathy. By collaborating with high school students throughout the design process, the team hopes to produce games that are simple, accessible, and effective.

My personal role for this project is as a game designer and programmer.  I am the lead designer and programmer on the Empathy game.

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Our development process for empathy was to design using elements from iThrive’s design guides that targeted specific barriers to teen empathy and transformations that the Mindset team developed using Sabrina Culyba’s Transformational Framework.


Through research, we found that barriers to teen empathy included social pressures, cognitive load, gender differences,  and age differences. With these barriers in mind, we developed transformational goals that involved active listening and cognitive empathy (perspective taking). Specifically, we hope that teens will develop better active listening skills, understand emotional facial subtext, and be able to accurately understand a character’s perspective and emotional states.


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