Using a virtual serious game (Deusto-e-motion1.0) to assess the theory of mind in primary school children: Observational descriptive study

Esther Lázaro, Imanol Amayra, Juan Francisco López-Paz, Oscar Martínez, Manuel Pérez Alvarez, Sarah Berrocoso, Mohammad Al-Rashaida, Maitane García, Paula Luna, Paula Pérez-Núñez, Alicia Aurora Rodriguez, Paula Fernández, Pamela Parada Fernández, Mireia Oliva-Macías

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Given the interactive media characteristics and intrinsically motivating appeal, virtual serious games are often praised for their potential for assessment and treatment. Objective: This study aims to validate and develop normative data for a virtual serious game (Deusto-e-motion1.0) for the evaluation of emotional facial expression recognition and social skills, both of which are components of the theory of mind. Methods: A total of 1236 children took part in the study. The children were classified by age (8-12 years old), gender (males=639, females=597), and educational level (between the third and sixth years of Primary Education). A total of 10 schools from the Basque Country and 20 trained evaluators participated in this study. Results: Differences were found in Deusto-e-motion1.0 scores between groups of children depending on age and gender. Moreover, there was a moderately significant correlation between the emotional recognition scores of Deusto-e-motion1.0 and those of the Feel facial recognition test. Conclusions: Deusto-e-motion1.0 shows concurrent validity with instruments that assess emotional recognition. Results support the adequacy of Deusto-e-motion1.0 in assessing components of the theory of mind in children.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12971
JournalJMIR Serious Games
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Children
  • Facial emotion recognition
  • Serious game
  • Theory of mind

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biomedical Engineering


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