Tag Archives: games

Girl working on computer

Flow

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Flow is one of those concepts that we all like to talk about but is much harder to achieve in practice. At its essence, flow is that feeling you get when you are “in the zone.” You are fully immersed in an activity, totally focused, high levels of challenge are balanced with high levels of skill so you get a great feeling of accomplishment. It increases your ability to persist through difficulty.

children playing computer game

Physical Contact and Video Gaming

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One of the first things I did when I got to the HFES conference this year was to scan the program looking for any research on games, gamification, or game-based training.

And I found a really good one. This study by Rachel Cunningham and her colleagues at Embry-Riddle compared two very similar tablet-based games. Both games requires players to collaborate on the same tablet surface. So it was not remote collaboration, it was real-time co-located collaboration.

pac man

Game Training to Reduce Bias

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There has been a long history of movements in the business, psychology, and human factors communities to help people overcome the natural tendencies in decision making that often lead us astray. You know – what we often refer to as biases but that evolved to help us make fast, frugal decisions in the muddy context we call the real world.

If you believe this article in Harvard Business Review, a team of researchers led by Carey Morewedge at Boston University may have discovered a viable approach. They used a serious game to train participants in intelligence analysis.

Arcade Driving Game

Training and Generalizability

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I love sharing information like this with you. It irks me when I see all of the lofty promises from companies (that shall remain unnamed, but they advertise so much online that I am sure you know who I am referring to) that their brain training will make you smarter, and solve all of your memory limitations, and turn your kids into the next Einstein. I have shared before the results of studies that show how limited transfer of training is when it comes to cognitive processes. If you practice your working memory span, you can indeed increase your working memory span. But it doesn’t improve anything else, and if you stop practicing you lose the benefits.

One recent study found that older adults could significantly improve their ability to multi-task after playing a specially designed driving video game called NeuroRacer. Another study from researchers at the University of Rochester found that playing action-packed video games improved people’s ability to make quick decisions and ignore distractions.

a view through a gun of a first person shooter game

Games, Training and Gender Bias

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There are a lot of ways to interpret this study and I want to touch on one or two of the ones that can be very valuable to HF/E practitioners.

The study looked at how male and female characters were accepted by other players as a function of their conformity with stereotypical gender roles. They used a first-person shooter game and measured acceptance by having these stereotypical players send friend requests to other players and measuring which ones were accepted…

two boys playing video games

Games for Training Perceptual and Cognitive Functions

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An intriguing study out of Nanyang Technological University has implications for us in HF/E. They were interested in whether training people with video games could improve a variety of perceptual and cognitive skills. It turns out, as with most things in HF/E, the answer is that “it depends.”

Previous evidence points to a causal link between playing action video games and enhanced cognition and perception. However, benefits of playing other video games are under-investigated. We examined whether playing non-action games also improves cognition…

a father and child using the computer together

Intergenerational Games: A New Form of Edugames

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I really loved reading this article on Annie Murphy Paul’s Brilliant Report. Since I consider myself an ardent follower of the education research and the gaming domain, I am kind of embarrassed that I am not more familiar with the research on intergenerational games.

“Electric Racer,” intended to improve the literacy skills of children aged six to nine, is one of a new crop of intergenerational educational games, designed to be played by grownups and kids together…

a video game controller

Violence in Video Games

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I can always count on Jamie Madigan’s monthly blog on the psychology of video games to evoke some great topics for discussion. The link between real-life aggression and playing violent video games has always interested me. It seems intuitively logical, but as we know in behavioral science, intuitive logic often has little link with real behavior. This month, Jamie turns this connection on its head with a link to something that I know is dear to many of your hearts, frustrating user interface design…