Brian Primack

At TEDMED 2014, Brian Primack, Clinician, Professor, and Researcher at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, sheds light on how principles learned from video game design can be used to create more effective health behavior change.

“I like media literacy because it favors empowerment over protectionism.” - Brian Primack


Having trained in the wonderfully disparate fields of English literature, mathematics, education, psychology, and medicine, Brian Primack combines his various forms of expertise by researching both positive and negative effects of media and technology on health. He has also pioneered the use of media literacy education in improving adolescent health behaviors and conducted extensive research on waterpipe (“hookah”) tobacco smoking. Brian is currently Assistant Vice-Chancellor of Research on Health and Society, Director of the Center for Research on Media, Technology, and Health, and Associate Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh.


Games and Health
Q&A with Brian on the TEDMED blog

Role of video games in improving health related outcomes: a systematic review.
Primack BA, et al. Am J Prev Med (2012), 6, 630–8.

Association between media use in adolescence and depression in young adulthood: a longitudinal study.
Primack BA, et al. Arch Gen Psych (2009), 2, 181–8.

Video games: Play or playlike activity?
Primack BA. Am J Prev Med (2009), 37(4), 379-80.


A longitudinal study of risk-glorifying video games and behavioral deviance.
Hull JG, Brunelle TJ, Prescott AT, Sargent JD.J Pers Soc Psychol. 2014 Aug;107(2):300-25.

The effects of video games on laparoscopic simulator skills.
Jalink MB, Goris J, Heineman E, Pierie JP, ten Cate Hoedemaker HO. Am J Surg. 2014 Jul;208(1):151-6.

Using commercial video games for upper limb stroke rehabilitation: is this the way of the future?
Pietrzak E, Cotea C, Pullman S. Top Stroke Rehabil. 2014 Mar-Apr;21(2):152-62.

Brain training with non-action video games enhances aspects of cognition in older adults: a randomized controlled trial.
Ballesteros S, Prieto A, Mayas J, Toril P, Pita C, Ponce de Leon L, Reales JM, Waterworth J. Front Aging Neurosci. 2014;6:277.

The effect of online violent video games on levels of aggression.
Hollingdale J, Greitemeyer T. PLoS One. 2014;9(11):e111790.

Active video games and health indicators in children and youth: a systematic review.
LeBlanc AG, Chaput JP, McFarlane A, Colley RC, Thivel D, Biddle SJ, Maddison R, Leatherdale ST, Tremblay MS. PLoS One. 2013 Jun 14;8(6):e65351.

Video games for diabetes self-management: examples and design strategies.
Lieberman DA. J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2012 Jul 1;6(4):802-6.