Hanneke Scholten is an assistant professor at the Technology, Human and Institutional Behavior Group of the University of Twente, and co-director of the Games for Emotional and Mental Health (GEMH) lab. She obtained her Bachelor Pedagogy and Educational Sciences and Research Master Behavioral Science (cum laude) at the Radboud University Nijmegen. In her PhD project (January 2020, cum laude) at the Developmental Psychopathology program of the Radboud University, she designed and tested a game to help youth quit smoking. In this project, she collaborated with game designers and youth and used a variety of methods, such as a participatory design, text-based analyses, and EEG. In her position as postdoctoral researcher at GEMH lab, she focused on understanding and improving youths’ emotional and mental health through technology. In her current position at the University of Twente she is driven to build interdisciplinary collaborations through which digital experiences can be developed that matter to youth and improve their wellbeing. Furthermore, she strives to implement scientifically proven products in the real-world to have an impact on as many youth as possible. Hanneke is a vocal proponent of the potential impact of interactive media on emotional and mental health. To this end, she has published her work in international journals and delivered over 50 presentations and workshops on this topic to audiences of diverse backgrounds, including the scientific community, parents, youth, teachers, designers, and psychologists.


  • Psychology

    • Mental Health
    • Wellbeing
    • Adolescents
    • Smoking
    • Inhibitory Control
    • Social Media
    • Biofeedback
    • Narrative Identity


RESEARCH LINE 1: Games for Emotional and Mental Health and Behavior Change

In her first research line, Hanneke focuses on designing and testing games for emotional and mental health and behavior change. Using a framework developed at the Games for Emotional and Mental Health (GEMH) lab, the design process is always started by pinpointing a set of transdiagnostic mechanisms of change that relate to the onset and persistance of the targeted feelings, actions or behaviors. In addition, and equally important, she always uses a design thinking approach to amplify engagement related processes. This entails that she always works in an interdisciplinary team of scientists, designers, artists, programmers, and clinicians. Furthermore, she not only designs for young people but with them as well, and is doing so from the start of the design process. In addition, she uses rapid prototyping and iterative testing methods throughout the whole design process, testing for both science-based as well as engagement-based considerations. Finally, in the upcoming years she will focus on implementing scientifically proven products in the real-world, to have an impact on as many youth as possible.  

RESEARCH LINE 2: Beyond Screen Time: Identity Development in the Digital Age

In her second research line, Hanneke focuses on understanding and improving the hybrid reality young people are currently living in. There is a heated debate being played out within and outside academia about the impact of 'screen time' on young people's mental health and wellbeing. This discourse is amplified across public media outlets, with headlines screaming for bans or restrictions on screen time as the current generation should become increasingly violent, addicted, depressed, anxious and lonely. Instead of this focus on 'screen time', Hanneke investigates an alternative functional approach studyin young people's mental health in the digital age, one that examines why and how digital media affect young people's development. Specifically, she focuses on the wealth of research related to identity development - the core developmental task of adolescent and young adulthood - which can help pinpoint the digital experiences that contribute to both healthy normative development as well as the emergence of serious mental health concerns.  


A diary study investigating the differential impacts of Instagram content on youths’ body imageHumanities and Social Sciences Communications, 11, Article 458 (E-pub ahead of print/First online). Glaser, H. C., Jansma, S. R. & Scholten, H.https://doi.org/10.1057/s41599-024-02960-3
Everyone does it—differently: A window into emerging adults’ smartphone useHumanities and Social Sciences Communications, 8, Article 177. Griffioen, N., Scholten, H., Lichtwarck-Aschoff, A., Van Rooij, M. & Granic, I.https://doi.org/10.1057/s41599-021-00863-1Mechanisms of change in a go/no-go training game for young adult smokersHealth Psychology, 998-1008. Scholten, H., Luijten, M., Poppelaars, A., Johnson-Glenberg, M. & Granic, I.https://doi.org/10.1037/hea0001068Insights about Screen-Use Conflict from Discussions between Mothers and Pre-Adolescents: A Thematic AnalysisInternational journal of environmental research and public health, 18(9), Article 4686, 4686. Francis, K., Scholten, H., Granic, I., Lougheed, J. & Hollenstein, T.https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18094686

Research profiles

In the press

  • Interview with Quest Psychologie about Games for Emotional and Mental Health – Summer 2019. Spelen met je brein - Is gamen slecht voor je brein? Er is ook bewijs voor het tegendeel: games kunnen helpen bij angst en depressie. Retrieved from https://psychologie.quest.nl/quest-psychologie-032019
  • Interview with Psychologie Magazine about Games for Emotional and Mental Health – March 2019. Gamen tegen angst en depressie.


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