From the Lab: Play Games on Your Smartphone

After a disaster, play games on your smartphone.

That’s the takeaway from a recent study as summarized by Art Markman in Psychology Today.

In the study, researchers tracked cell phone use following a major earthquake in China in 2013. What they found was that while everyone felt a similar level of threat shortly after the event, those who spent more time using “hedonic” (i.e., pleasurable) apps on their smartphone—like games and music players—recovered more quickly than those who used them less.

While some may dismiss this strategy as simply “numbing the pain,” sometimes that’s exactly what people in pain need. And while the experience of public speaking is nowhere near that of surviving a natural disaster, it’s likely that the same recovery strategy will work. Therefore, if you find yourself feeling particularly stressed after a communication “disaster,” it may be beneficial to pull out your smartphone and play some games or listen to music until you calm down enough to debrief it more rationally.

Fun and Games: Pitch Deck

Here’s a game that sounds absolutely amazing for parties and public speaking classes alike: Pitch Deck.

As the creators Fred Benenson and Alex Hague explain,

Pitch Deck is a game about pitching objectively bad startup ideas. Each round, everyone combines a pitch card from their hand with a company card on the table to create a new business. Think “Airbnb for fish” or “Roomba for male tears.” Then everyone makes a quick elevator pitch describing what their company does. One person plays an investor, who decides which concept everyone will secretly fund that round. At the end of the game, the funding amounts are revealed, and there are two winners: the person who pitched the most valuable company and the person who invested the most in that company.

Here’s a video that explains further:

The best thing about Pitch Deck is that the creators are generously giving it away for free under a Creative Commons license, so you can play it, share it, and even adapt it for free (with credit).

You can also pre-order an official copy at for the very reasonable price of $25. I’ve already pre-ordered a copy for myself!