Psychology of Video Games Podcast

Psychology of Video Games Podcast

By Jamie Madigan

Examining how psychology explains why video games are made how they are and why gamers behave as we do.

Episodes

Episode 60: Take This (dot org)

I mean, wouldn't it be nice if there were organizations out there that were dedicated to helping people in the gaming communities cope, be healthy, and get the help they need? Wouldn't it be great if there were someone offering aid in our quest to get through life healthy, happy, well prepared? Well, I'm going to talk to someone from one such organization that has adopted the mission to do just that. “Robot Motivation” by The Polish Ambassador, licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0One Sly Move by Kevin MacLeod. Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/5759-blippy-trance License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
01/06/201h 3m

Episode 59: What is a Games Researcher?

People with psychology degrees fill a lot of roles in the gaming industry, including researchers working within a game development company. I talk to one such researcher who works at Riot Games, maker of League of Legends and Valorant, about what she does, how she got where she is, and what advice she has for those interested in charting a similar course.“Robot Motivation” by The Polish Ambassador, licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0Blippy Trance by Kevin MacLeod. Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/5759-blippy-trance License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
01/05/2058m 1s

Episode 58 - The Economics of Online Games

Just as video games can provide great examples of concepts from psychology, they can also illustrate concepts from neighboring fields. Like economics! In this episode, my guest expert walks us through his adventures in using basic knowledge of economics to wreak havoc (and have fun) in a massively multiplayer online game. And what kinds of issues designers of these kinds of games have to take into consideration.
01/04/2047m 56s

Episode 57 - Mental Models in League of Legends

Mental models are representations that help people understand and predict systems or situations such as a match in a competitive game. My guest expert this episode reports on his research into understanding the differences between the mental models of League of Legends players at different levels of expertise and accomplishment. Can understanding how these mental models are structured and developed help players become better and suggest ways that game designers can facilitate such development?
01/03/2057m 17s

Episode 56 - Game to Grow

How therapeutic Dungeons & Dragons sessions are reaching people who need help in an engaging way.
02/02/2048m 28s

Podcast 55 - Psychology of Level Design

What are some of the ways that video game level designers look to psychology for helping players can navigate, move through, and make sense of their virtual worlds?
04/01/201h 1m

Podcast 54 - Sexualization in Games

Should you expect playing as a sexually objectified avatar like Lara Croft to impact women's attitudes towards their own bodies or to create other harmful attitudes? My guests this episode engaged in what they called "adversarial collaboration" to run a study and find out. One didn't think they would find an effect from playing as Mrs. Croft. The other did. Find out who was right.
01/12/1949m 8s

Podcast 53 - Online Relationships (Rebroadcast)

Are friendships and other relationships formed in online games substitutes for offline relationships? Are they better?
01/11/1954m 16s

Podcast 52 - Being Indistractable

Welcome to part two of this two part miniseries on Psychology of Games summer reading. In this episode I talk with author and consultant Nir Eyal about how to use psychology and other methods to avoid being distracted by video games and other technology when you don't want to be. It's all in his new book, Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life, available now.Nir discusses the psychology behind distraction and its opposite, which he calls "traction." Along with this, we talk about specific strategies for getting more traction and when it's okay to be distracted by video games, social media, and other technology.
02/10/1958m 53s

Podcast 51: Lost in a Good Game

Psychology of Games Summer Book Club begins with an interview with Dr. Pete Etchells, author of the newly released Lost in a Good Game.
07/09/191h 8m

Podcast 50 - Moral Choices in Games vs. Other Media

My guest experts and I discuss how moral choices in video games are different from other media and what makes them so difficult. We also discuss some of our favorite and most compelling choices from games.
03/08/191h 6m

Podcast 49: Empathy

Empathy --the ability to understand and share the emotions of others-- is a powerful tool for those wanting to create games where the goal is to get players to think differently and have powerful emotional experiences. It can be used to great effect and probably plays a big part in more games than you realize. But leveraging empathy in games has its own risks and pitfalls. Designers who do so need to be aware of these so that they can successfully create the outcomes they want and so that players aren't abused or exposed to undue distress. Fortunately, my guest expert on this episode, Kelli Dunlap PsyD, is here to help us explore and understand this psychological concept.
04/07/1948m 41s

Podcast 48: Loot Boxes Part 2

Special ALL HAWAII EDITION! To give me a little breathing room after finishing up my book manuscript, here are two complete interviews I did while researching the recent loot box podcast episode. One is the full interview with Representative Chris Lee, and the other is with Ed White, who has provided testimony during hearings on the topic.
19/06/1948m 22s

Podcast 47: Loot Boxes and Gambling

What is the relationship between loot boxes and problematic gambling? Should loot boxes be considered a form of gambling? In this episode I talk with Chris Lee, a politician, and David Zendle, a researcher, who are both very interested in the answers to those questions.
08/05/191h 3m

Podcast 46: Collecting Virtual Items

How do game developers make virtual items as collectible as physical objects?
01/04/1947m 42s

Podcast 45: Psychology of The Legend of Zelda

I talk with Dr. Anthony Bean and several of his collaborators on a book about psychology and the Legend of Zelda.
05/03/191h 28m

Podcast 44: Gamification and Game Based Assessments

I talk with Dr. Richard Landers, an expert researcher on gamification and game-based assessments. We discuss some of the psychology behind why gamification does (and does not) work, as well as why it's so difficult to do it well. We also talk about the use of actual games to assess people's skills and abilities. Is it possible to create, for example, a game that measures people' general mental ability?
03/02/191h 16m

Podcast 43: Dungeons, Dragons, & Psychology

I talk in this episode with my guest expert, Megan Connell PsyD, who uses Dungeons & Dragons in group therapy with remarkable results and runs a weekly D&D game with psychology nerds on Twitch. We also discuss what lessons psychology has for helping other people at the table --possibly including yourself-- and how to find and get along with a new gaming group.
01/01/191h 10m

Podcast 42: Mobile Game Affinity

Say it's time to download a new game for your phone or tablet. What, out of the billions of choices out there, will you choose? Psychology pretty consistently tells us that when we have too many choices we look for strategies and heuristics for making those decisions easier. And what's more, much of this might happen with little to no conscious thought. Our brains have evolved to become really good at applying these kinds of decision-making rules and we tend to apply them automatically or let them be guided by gut instinct and emotion. In short, we develop an affinity for certain types of mobile games, and then we let that affinity drive our decision about what to play next.But how does this process work, and what are the different aspects of games that we develop affinity for? Can game designers measure these kinds of stated or internal preferences and use that information to market games to us or even decide what kinds of games to make? What are the potential costs and benefits of this kind of approach to the industry and to players? These are the kinds of questions that I will discuss with my guest expert on this episode of the podcast.
03/12/1848m 55s

Podcast 41: How Video Games Prepare You For Success

Video games often get kind of a short shrift when it comes to how valuable they are considered, versus a being a waste of time. Yet an argument can be made that they teach and reinforce valuable skills that psychologists have found to be important for success in work and life in general. Games can teach you how to persist through obstacles, for example, or how to cooperate with people towards a common goal. They can drive learning and creative thinking.These are the kinds of topics I will discuss with this week's guest expert, Jonathan D. Harrison.SHOW NOTES:http://classicallytrained.net/Jon on Twitter: https://twitter.com/CT_blogMastering the Game on Amazon
01/11/1854m 43s

Podcast 40: Our Avatar Relationships

Think about the last avatar you controlled in a video game. What did he, she, or it mean to you? Was it just a tool that you used to get from one end of a maze to another? Was it a richly detailed character that might have been pulled from any given movie, television show, or novel? Or was it something that you created, tweaked, and customized from whole cloth –well, digital whole cloth– to look just how you wanted and behave exactly as you thought appropriate?Among different kinds of media, video games are unique in how they allow us to interact with and develop something approaching real interpersonal relationships with characters. So it’s an interesting question for those in the realms of psychology and communications research to ask how exactly this works. What determines what kind of relationship you will have with your avatar? What characterizes those relationships? And what effects do they have on our enjoyment of the games or other outcomes?These are the kinds of questions that I will tackle with the help of my guest expert, Dr. Jaime Banks on this episode of the podcast.Audio credits:“Robot Motivation” by The Polish Ambassador, licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-SA 3."AcidJazz" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
10/10/181h 1m

Podcast 39: Thirty Questions About the Psychology of Video Games

I'm at PAX West participating in panels and making new friends, but that doesn't mean you don't get a new podcast. Enjoy this audio presentation of a lecture I gave about 30 things I wish researchers would study (or study more) about the psychology of video games. And why it would be great if they did.
07/09/1848m 13s

Podcast 38: Mental Health Professionals and Video Games

It may shock you to hear this, but not everyone is intimately familiar with video games. I know, right? Despite the fact that video games continue to become more mainstream and cut across all kinds of demographic groups, some aspects of games and gaming culture continue to be misunderstood or, worse yet, maligned. In this episode my guest and I are going to examine yet another group that may need some evidence-based information about video games: mental health therapists and similar professionals. That is, those working with kids, adults, and families who may not only be incorporating video games and play into their therapy, but who may be asked specifically about behaviors and habits related to video games.
07/09/1859m 25s

Podcast 37: Cognitive Psychology and User Experiences

Basic psychological phenomena like memory, perception, and emotions have huge implications for the design of products or experiences, from nutritional labels to phone apps to voting registration forms to video games. And people who study those kinds of user experiences need to be aware of some of the very basic ways that squishy human brains can be expected to operate as they set out to test and measure how people interact with their products and make sense of their media. If they don't take those things into account, they lose one of their most important guideposts to improving user experiences and helping the designers or directors of the world execute on their visions.These are the kinds of things I'll be talking about with this episode's guest expert, Dr. Celia Hodent. We will also talk about the challenges and pleasures of being a user experience consultant, and we'll even talk a little about the runaway success of Fortnite: Battle Royale.
07/09/181h 14m

Podcast 36: Psychology, Escape Rooms, and VR

In a way, classic adventure games were the precursors to the escape rooms that are popping up in strip malls and warehouses all over the country. But unlike adventure games, escape rooms take place in physical space with tangible objects. But just like with video games, people who design escape rooms and other kinds of live, narrative experiences can benefit from an understanding of human psychology. What kinds of boundaries do typical human perception and information processing place on how an escape room can be designed? How can the well worn mental shortcuts that people use to make decisions and understand the world be used to advance a narrative or provide clues for a puzzle? And then how can these concepts be looped back around to lessons that can be applied to video game design or even how to play a video game and interact with other players while trying to solve some challenge?
07/09/1859m 46s

Podcast 35: Player Empathy and Drivers of Gameplay

In this episode of the podcast, I talk to one veteran game designer Jason Vandenberghe, who has tackled the issue of understanding what kinds of experiences gamers want with the aid of psychology and psychological theories. He aims to avoid false consensus and advocate for what he calls "player empathy." That is, using a framework of personality and motivation psychology to break out of our false consensus and talk about what kinds of gaming experiences that players may want and how to give it to them. Jason Vandenberghe's blogGDC 2012 Talk GDC 2013 Talk GDC 2016 Talk  Audio Credits "Robot Motivation" by The Polish Ambassador, licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-SA 3."Industrious Ferret" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
07/09/181h 17m

Podcast 34: Games Design Education and Psychology 101

Many universities and other institutions are offering degrees in video game design and other careers in the gaming industry like art, coding, and user experience design. Some of them are also incorporating courses on psychology because it helps make better games. I talk about this trend with this week's guest expert, Vanessa Hemovich. 
07/09/181h 6m

Podcast 33: Executive Skill Transference and Play Diets

Modern video games are complicated and require a lot of learning, problem solving, memory, planning, and other things that psychologists might identify as executive functions of the brain. There's a lot going on between our ears whenever we play.And wouldn't it be great if some of those mental gymnastics helped us with dealing with more mundane but probably more important tasks outside of games. Stuff like school, work, and interacting with other people? Can you connect game-based learning and practice of these skills with "real life" skills? Might this be especially useful for certain people, like kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or who are on the autism spectrum? But even if so, can parents and other caregivers go too far and neglect other types of play that are also important?These are the types of questions that I'm going to talk about with this episode's guest expert, Dr. Randy Kulman of Learningworksforkids.com.
07/09/181h 2m

Podcast 32: Twelve More Months of Psychology of Video Games

Enjoy the audio versions of 12 months of Psychology of Games articles from the website. (Sung, awkwardly, to the tune of "Twelve Days of Christmas.") Audio Credits“Robot Motivation” by The Polish Ambassador, licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0Several tracks from Incomptech licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 :Mining by MoonlightMoon Lounge Omicron PrimeDeucesDaybreakOne Sly MoveSeveral video game songs:Guile's Theme from the Street Fighter 2 sountrackDiablo 3 main themeOverwatch main themeDark Souls 3
07/09/181h 3m

Podcast 31: Harassment in Video Games

Harassment of many types has been an issue that gamers and game developers have had to deal with for a long time now. In this episode my guest expert Wai Yen Tang talks about research that he and others have done on what leads to harassment in video games and other online spaces, as well as things we might try to curb it. He also talks about the path he took to marry academia and video games.
07/09/1858m 4s

Podcast 30: Gaming Addiction

I talk to someone who does research on gaming addiction about the concept in general, how hard it is to research it, and the APA's recent decision to (possibly, at some point in the future) include Internet Gaming Disorder as a real mental disorder in the handbook psychiatrists use to diagnose someone.Audio Credits:"Robot Motivation" by The Polish Ambassador, licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 "Sneaky Snitch," "Over Under," and "Netherworld" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
07/09/1854m 8s

029 - Morality in Video Games

Moral choice in video games is a concept that has been with us for decades now. Many games feature points where you must decide how your character reacts to moral dilemmas or decide which of two evils is the lesser. And even games without much choice usually have characters that we pass moral judgment on when we decide if their actions are defensible or not. Media psychologists have studied those judgments and choices in the context of other types of media, and they're starting to look at them in the unique context of video games. What effects does the morality on display in games have on how we play games and how we enjoy them? How does our own morality come into play? Even if we're not making choices about our avatar's behavior in a game, does seeing him/her act in moral or immoral ways affect how much we're going to enjoy the game or what we're going to think of it once the credits roll? These are the kinds of questions I'll tackle with the aid of this episode's expert guest, Dr. Matthew Grizzard.
07/09/1858m 54s

028 - Avatar Identification and Video Games

In this episode I talk to Dr. Jesse Fox about her research into how we identify with our video game avatars, how that affects how we play, and how it may affect what we take away from games. Specifically, we review a paper entitled "Playing for Love In a Romantic Video Game: Avatar Identification, Parasocial Relationships, and Chinese Women's Romantic Beliefs" and another study looking at how customizing avatars' appearances can make them more or less persuasive.
07/09/1856m 32s

027 - Collecting in Video Games

In this episode we explore what people like to collect virtual objects in video games, why they do it, and what game designers could do to make collections more fun to acquire and use.About this week's guest:The Play & Interactive Experiences for Learning Lab
07/09/1853m 41s

026 - Moral Combat and the War on Video Game Violence

My guests on this episode are Dr. Chris Ferguson and Dr. Patrick Markey, the authors of the new book Moral Combat: Why the War on Violent Video Games is Wrong. We talk about why people tend to blame violent video games for all kinds of things, the state of the research, morality and games, and some of the reasons why games are actually good for you.About the podcast:Previous episodesBuy the Moral Combat book on Amazon
07/09/1849m 54s

025 - A Parent's Guide to Video Games

Dr. Rachel Kowert returns to discuss her new book, A Parent's Guide to Video Games. We discuss her process for writing the book, who she thinks it benefits, and the questions and concerns that parents tend to have about the mental wellbeing of their kids ...ON VIDEO GAMES.Audio Credits: "Robot Motivation" by The Polish Ambassador, licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-SA 3.
07/09/1845m 12s

024 - Electronic Gaming Therapy

Games are good for more than just simple fun. Some psychologists and therapists are using them to help people.  In this episode I talk to some people who are using video games as part of therapy for kids and families and they explain why games are so uniquely useful in their line of work.Audio Credits: "Robot Motivation" by The Polish Ambassador, licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0
07/09/181h 0m

023 - Self Determination Theory and Video Games

There's a substantial body of literature  that identifies a triforce of motivation: Competence, Autonomy, and Mastery. That is, we're motivated to do something to the extent that we feel like we can get better at it, that we feel like we have meaningful choices in how to do it, and that it makes us matter to other people. In this episode of the podcast I talk with researcher and consultant Scott Rigby about how this Self Determination Theory applies to video game design and a lot of other stuff we gamers encounter every day.About the podcast:Subscribe in iTunes herePodcast RSS FeedPrevious episodesImmersyve.comAudio Credits:"Robot Motivation" by The Polish Ambassador, licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0Chill Wave Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
07/09/181h 5m

022 - Research on Addiction and Aggression

Turns out that doing science is hard. And doing science involving people is particularly tricky and comes with all kinds of caveats. And then doing research on humans involving something as diverse and personal as video game experiences is even more tricky. In this episode of the podcast I talk about all that with my guest, Malte Elson, a behavioral psychologist working at Ruhr University Bochum in Germany. He has spent a lot of time thinking about researching video games and has a lot of thoughts about the state of research on things like video game violence and video game addiction. It's a cool talk that should prepare you to discuss and form your own opinions about these popular topics. About the podcast:Subscribe in iTunes herePodcast RSS FeedPrevious episodesVisit Malte Elson's websiteAudio Credits:"Robot Motivation" by The Polish Ambassador, licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0"Over Under" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com). Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License Sneaky Snitch by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.co
07/09/181h 3m

021 - Achievements, Goals, and Motivation in Games

Achievements, trophies, badges, and similar rewards are ever present in video games. The assumption seems to be that they motivate players to keep playing a game in order to reach some goal or get some reward, but is that always so? In this episode I talk with Michael Hanus about when these kinds of things work and when they don't.About the podcast: Subscribe in iTunes herePodcast RSS FeedPrevious episodesAudio Credits:"Robot Motivation" by The Polish Ambassador, licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0"Bicycle" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com). Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License"Over Under" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com). Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
07/09/1858m 43s

020 - Year 1 of Psych of Games Articles

I'm working ahead on new podcasts, new articles, and a conference lecture. In the meantime, enjoy the audio versions of 12 Psychology of Games articles all assembled together for your listening pleasure. About the podcast:Subscribe in iTunes herePodcast RSS FeedPrevious episodesAudio Credits"Robot Motivation" by The Polish Ambassador, licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0Smarter Than You - Ambient music captured from the appPay to Win - Shiny Tech from Incomptech licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0Shenmu 3 - Shenmu OSTBatman - Batman Arkham Knight OSTWii U - Pixeland from Incomptech licensed under Creative Commons:CC BY-NC-SA 3.0Far Cry 4 - Far Cr
07/09/1854m 48s

019 - Habit Forming Games

Habits --behaviors we do without thinking about them-- are very powerful forces in our lives. And many products like mobile games are designed specifically to create and maintain habits. In this episode I talk to Nir Eyal about how habits are formed, how they're broken, and a variety of other related topics. Oh yeah, and we talk a lot about Pokemon Go.About the podcast:Subscribe in iTunes herePodcast RSS FeedPrevious episodesAudio Credits:"Robot Motivation" by The Polish Ambassador, licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0Pokemon Go main theme The Birds (1963) movie trailer
07/09/1859m 35s

018 - Biofeedback and Video Games

I talk to Lennart Nacke from the University of Waterloo about the research he has done around psychophysiology --the physiological basis of psychological phenomena. We discuss how various physiological processes like breathing, heart rate, eye movement, and more can be used by video games to create new experiences. And what we can expect from this kind of technology in the future. It's actually kind of surprising how far along this stuff is. About the podcast: Subscribe in iTunes herePodcast RSS FeedPrevious episodesAudio Credits "Robot Motivation" by The Polish Ambassador, licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0Phantom From Space Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
07/09/1856m 6s

017 - Psychology and the Gamification of Learning

In this episode I talk with Karl Kapp about what video gams have in common with effective classrooms, training, or other learning environments and why an over reliance on "points, badges, and leaderboards" isn't a good idea.About the podcast: Subscribe in iTunes herePodcast RSS FeedPrevious episodesAudio Credits "Robot Motivation" by The Polish Ambassador, licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0Over Under Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
07/09/181h 4m

016 - Online Relationships and Friendships

In this episode I talk with Rachel Kowert about friendships and other relationships formed in online games. Can these kinds of friendships substitute for offline relationships? Are they better or worse in some ways?About the podcast: Subscribe in iTunes herePodcast RSS FeedPrevious episodesAudio Credits "Robot Motivation" by The Polish Ambassador, licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0Wagon Wheel Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 Licensehttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/Over Under Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
07/09/1853m 40s

015: Simulation Sickness and Virtual Reality Game Design

In this episode I talk with Ben Lewis Evans, a psychologist and UX researcher at Epic Games, about simulation sickness and virtual reality. We talk about what causes it and what limitations hardware and game designers have to design around in order to avoid it. Audio credits:"Robot Motivation" by The Polish Ambassador, licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0"Petulant March" by Kevin MacLeod Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.Intense VR Game Challenges You to Save a Kitten from a Ledge
07/09/1857m 2s

014: Why Do YOU Play Games?

Hey. I've got a question for you: Why do you play games?That's going to be the topic of discussion in this episode of the podcast, with my guest Dr. Nick Yee from Quantic Foundry.  He's going to share some research that he and his colleagues have been doing around player types, gaming motivations, and personality types. Maybe you'll learn something about what makes your gamer soul tick. Audio Credits"Robot Motivation" by The Polish Ambassador, licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0"Bit Quest" by Kevin MacLeod Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0."Happy Happy Game Show" by Kevin MacLeod Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0Richard Bartle on Player Type Theory at CasualConnect 2012
07/09/1856m 50s

013 - Stress, Games, and Recovery

Ever used video games to blow off some steam and recover from a hard day at work or school?  Psychologists who study stress and how we recover from it have noted that certain activities are better than others for helping us recharge our reserves and getting over stressful events. Now, some psychologists --such as Dr. Emily Collins, my guest on this episode-- are looking at how video games may be super effective at helping us recover from stress. And how some genres or types of games may do it better than others.More about the podcast here:http://www.psychologyofgames.com/podcast/Subscribe in iTunes here:https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/psychology-video-games-podcast/id976468994Audio Credits“Robot Motivation” by The Polish Ambassador, licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/http://freemusicarchive.org/music/The_Polish_Ambassador/Diplomatic_Immunity/05_Robot_Motivation"Monkeys Spinning Monkeys" by Kevin MacLeod Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/http://incompetech.com/wordpress/2014/02/monkeys-spinning-monkeys/
07/09/1841m 32s

012 - Video Game violence

Does controlling or experiencing violence in video games cause violence, aggression, or other acts of malice outside of the game? This is the main question that I discuss with my guest this episode, Christopher J. Ferguson, Ph.D. He is a prolific researcher and commentator on the topic of video game violence, and he shares his thoughts about the state of the research and whether or not we should be worried about letting kids watch violent TV or games.Plus, we have a side conversation into the topic of misogyny and other stereotyping in video game culture and whether being exposed to those elements is equivalent to seeing or controlling video game violence.More about the podcast here:http://www.psychologyofgames.com/podcast/Subscribe in iTunes here:https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/psychology-video-games-podcast/id976468994More about Christopher J. Furgeson's research:http://www.stetson.edu/other/faculty/profiles/christopher-ferguson.phpAudio Credits“Robot Motivation” by The Polish Ambassador, licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/http://freemusicarchive.org/music/The_Polish_Ambassador/Diplomatic_Immunity/05_Robot_Motivation"Happy Happy Game Show" by Kevin MacLeod Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/http://incompetech.com/wordpress/2016/01/happy-happy-game-show/"Level Up!" by Kevin MacLeod Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/http://incompetech.com/wordpress/2015/03/level-up/"Over Under" by Kevin MacLeod Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-f
07/09/181h 12m

011 - How do video games affect our physical and mental health?

I admit it: I'm turning into my parents. When I was a kid I played a lot of games, and they had concerns about how it was affecting my physical and mental health. My mom and dad thought it would wreck my attention span, stunt my social skills, and make me generally unhealthy. As a result, I was made to go outside, play with friends, and get fresh air. Now that I have kids of my own, I can't just stand by and let them play as much as they sometimes want to.But a lot about video games and technology has changed in the time since I was a kid myself. And a lot of research has been done on how video games --and media in general-- affect our physical and mental health. In fact, many games are now being designed specifically to promote health.My guest this week is Dr. Cheryl K. Olson, the co-founder for the Center for Mental Health and Media at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. She's an expert on how media can affect our health --and how it can be used deliberately to benefit health. That includes both physical and mental health.More about the podcast here:http://www.psychologyofgames.com/podcast/Subscribe in iTunes here:https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/psychology-video-games-podcast/id976468994Music and Audio Credits:"Carnival Intrigue" by Kevin MacLeod Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/http://incompetech.com/wordpress/2015/04/carnival-intrigue/“Robot Motivation” by The Polish Ambassador, licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/http://freemusicarchive.org/music/The_Polish_Ambassador/Diplomatic_Immunity/05_Robot_MotivationAnimal Jam "Jamaa Township" captured from the Animal Jam websitehttp://www.animaljam.com/Zombies, Run! audio captured from the apphttps://zombiesrungame.com/"Unwritten Return" by Kevin MacLeo
07/09/181h 1m

010 - Can Games Make You Smarter?

In this episode I talk to Dr. C. Shawn Green about whether or not video games can make us smarter or improve certain mental and perceptual skills. And not just those brain training games --we're talking about mainstream action games that most of us play.More about the podcast here:http://www.psychologyofgames.com/podcast/Subscribe in iTunes here:https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/psychology-video-games-podcast/id976468994Audio Credits:“Robot Motivation” by The Polish Ambassador, licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/http://freemusicarchive.org/music/The_Polish_Ambassador/Diplomatic_Immunity/05_Robot_Motivation"Unwritten Return" by Kevin MacLeod Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1500037"Carnival Intrigue" by Kevin MacLeod Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/http://incompetech.com/wordpress/2015/04/carnival-intrigue/
07/09/181h 0m

009 - How Games Differ From Other Media

In this episode I talk to Dr. Nick Bowman about how video games differ from other media in terms of the demands they place on players and thus how our approaches to studying them should differ. It turns out that video games ARE special and something new.More about the podcast here:http://www.psychologyofgames.com/podcast/Subscribe in iTunes here:https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/psychology-video-games-podcast/id976468994AUDIO CREDITS:"Robot Motivation" by The Polish Ambassador, licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/http://freemusicarchive.org/music/The_Polish_Ambassador/Diplomatic_Immunity/05_Robot_Motivation"Hyperfun" by Kevin MacLeod Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1400038"Iron Horse" by Kevin MacLeod Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1100735"Unwritten Returnby Kevin MacLeod Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/http://incompetech.com/wordpress/2015/06/unwritten-return/
07/09/181h 11m

008 - Envy and Microtransactions

I talk to researcher Niels van de Ven about how envy can drive us to make in-game purchases and microtransactions, as well as what effect such purchases have on what we think of other players. What happens if you pay to win while I grind it out?More about the podcast here:http://www.psychologyofgames.com/podcast/Subscribe in iTunes here:https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/psychology-video-games-podcast/id976468994AUDIO CREDITS:"Robot Motivation" by The Polish Ambassador, licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/http://freemusicarchive.org/music/The_Polish_Ambassador/Diplomatic_Immunity/05_Robot_Motivation"Shiny Tech" by Kevin MacLeod Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=usuan1100078"Unwritten Return" by Kevin MacLeod Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/http://incompetech.com/wordpress/2015/06/unwritten-return/"Winner Winner!"by Kevin MacLeod Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1400036AUDIO CLIPS:Giant Bombcast 7/28/15http://www.giantbomb.com/podcasts/giant-bombcast-07282015/1600-1300/
07/09/1852m 7s

007 - Video Game Debates and Research

I talk to Rachel Kowert and Throston Quandt about their new book on the the many debates surrounding video games as the scientific study of games.Kowert & Quandt's book, "The Video Game Debate"More about the podcast here:http://www.psychologyofgames.com/..
07/09/1849m 56s

006 - Psychology and UX

User Experience ("UX" for short) is one of those disciplines in the gaming industry often tied to psychology. And given how it's interested in understanding and quantifying the experiences of the people who play video games, interact with hardware, and navigate through menus, it's easy to see how an understanding of attention, perception, cognition, mental heuristics, learning, and memory can help UX researchers do their jobs.In this episode I talk to Celia Hodent, the Director of User Experience at Epic Games and a psychology Ph.D. Hodent and her team help Epic make sure that its customers have the experiences that its game designers envision, and in this podcast she explains how an understanding of psychology, knowledge of research methods, and experience in data management help her do that. She also shares some advice for anyone interested in getting into this line of work.Thanks also to Caryn Vainio, who set the stage for what UX is and why it matters. Check out her portfolio and website.Info on this week's guests:Celia Hodent's websitefollow her on TwitterAudio Credits:Robot Motivation by The Polish Ambassador, licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0Hep Cats by Kevin MacLeod Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribut
07/09/1852m 21s

005 - Psychology and Game AI

Playing with and against other humans is great in many ways (and not so great in others) but the fact is that gamers spend a lot of time interacting with computer-controlled agents. Enemies, shopkeeers, quest givers, teammates, other NPCs --they can all be controlled by a game's artificial intelligence. AI has come a long, long way thanks to advances in the field and increased processing power on our gaming hardware, but some games are still better than others at making us feel that an NPC or enemy bot is acting like a human.But to make something inhuman act human, you have to know something about how our fleshy meat brains work. You have to know a thing or two about human psychology. Humans don't always act rationally. They take social information like reputation into account when dealing with people. They use mental shortcuts in their decision making that produce weird results. Their perception of a scene can be affected by their attentional resources and the contextual baggage their puny minds bring with them. Can you teach a computer to emulate all that?My guest on this episode of the podcast thinks so. His name is David Mark and he's an expert on developing AI for video games. Mark has also made it a point of studying psychology and applying its lessons to creating AI that seems human if you're willing to suspend a bit of disbelief.Audio Credits:Robot Motivation by The Polish Ambassador, licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0Winner Winner! by Kevin MacLeod Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
07/09/181h 0m

004 - Toxic Behavior in Video Games

I think most of us have been there: we join an online multiplayer game and suddenly someone is screaming all kinds of nasty things at us, telling us to die in a fire, or spamming us with some hateful string of letters or another. This sort of toxic behavior is particularly bad in some parts of the gaming scene, and it has always struck me as weird. Why are we so willing to bully, harass, and jeer at people in ways that we would never consider doing in real life?And perhaps a more interesting question to go along with that one is, what can game developers do about it?My guest for this episode of the podcast is Dr. Jeffrey Lin, who heads up the Player Behavior Team at Riot Software. That's the company that makes and manages League of Legends, one of the 800 pound gorillas in the MOBA genre. MOBAs, along with some first person shooters and fighting games, are sometimes infamous for the toxic behavior of their players. And regardless of the extent to which that reputation is deserved or not, Lin and his colleagues are determined to improve the sportsmanship displayed in the League of Legends community. What's cool is that the approaches and methods used by the Player Behavior Team are firmly rooted in some very basic (and some not so basic) theories of human psychology. In this episode we'll hear all about them and how they can benefit not just League players, but all the denizens of the Internet.Music: Robot Motivation by The Polish Ambassador, licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0
07/09/181h 1m

003 - Psychological Flow

Ever just get "in the zone" with a video game? Like it just clicks with you and it's challenging enough to hold your interest but not too difficult as to get frustrating? This is a mental state called psychological flow, and it's been studied in work, sports, and all kinds of play including video games.Game developers often design with flow in mind, and getting players to that state is usually seen as the halmark of good game design. It usually involves getting dialing in just the right amount of challenge, making sure players know what they need to do, giving them clear feedback, and a few other things. But recently some researchers have begun to take an interest in how group dynamics and collaborative (or competitive) situations within groups affects flow. Do the rules change when groups are involved?  This, along with psychological flow in general, will be the topic of this podcast episode, along with our expert Dr. Linda Kaye, a Senior Lecturer in the department of Psychology at Edge Hill University in the United Kingdom. She has studied flow in games and started probing into the topic of group flow.My Patron supporters got this podcast days early. Support me on Patron to get early access next time. Info on this week's guest:Info on Dr. Linda KayeHer Researchgate pageAudio creditsMusic: Robot Motivation The Polish Ambassador licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0Buy the Flower OST on
07/09/1849m 6s

002 - Big Data and Becoming a Video Game Psychologist

Ever wondered how one gets into the field of video game psychology? Is there even such a field, really? In many ways Dr. Nick Yee is the answer to both those questions. He has a background in psychology and experimental design and he has published several articles in refereed scientific journals. He has also written a book about the psychology behind how video game avatars shape our behaviors. All along the way, Yee has managed to blend these interests in psychology with his expertise in computer science and a love of video games to do some pretty interesting things. In many ways he is a great example of how one can merge the worlds of psychology and video games. In this podcast episode Yee will explain how he turned that combination of interests into a job with big time game publisher Ubisoft, where he and longtime research partner Nic Ducheneaut applied social science theory and research methods to game design. Now they are setting out on their own venture to do the same for others in the gaming industry, and Yee will tell us all about it. Yee and I also talk extensively about how gaming companies are using data to track every little thing players are doing and how that information can be used to make games better. More to the point, we talk about privacy, ethics, and what role psychologists can (and should) play in this era of big data. How often are their skills and aptidutes are being put to good use in the gaming industry? Just how much does the training psychologists receive contribute to big game data analytics?Hope you all enjoy this one. Again, please leave a review and rating on the iTunes page or your other podcast service of choice. This is the biggest thing you can do right now to help me out.Info on this week's guest:Info on Dr. Yee and his public
07/09/1852m 27s

001 - Video Game Frustration, Aggression, and Rage Quitting

Text. Pfft. Text is dead, am I right? Voice without video, THAT'S the future.Given that, I've decided to dip into the world of podcasting and have recorded my first episode. I talked to Dr. Andrew Przybylski from Oxford University about research that he and his colleagues have done on video game violence, frustration, aggression, and motivation. Specifically around some additional questions and research topics that psychologists should be investigating around aggression and games. We also talk about how game designers and community managers might use this research to make players feel less frustrated and angry in certain circumstances.I'll update this post once the podcast is searchable in iTunes, but here are some links:The podcast RSS feedA direct download link to Episode 1And if you want to listen to the podcast RIGHT NOW, click the play button below.This is my first attempt at podcasting and I've already learned a lot making just this one episode. But I also want to hear your feedback and suggestions. Just head over to the Contact page and shoot me a note. Likewise, if you're a researcher or someone with a psychology background working in the gaming industry, let me know if you'd like to be a guest! It's a great way to share what you've been working on with interested listeners. I'm aiming to post a new podcast every month.Finally, I hear you like links. Here are some links relevant to this episode.Info on this week's guest:Info on Dr. Przybylski and his publications
07/09/1844m 41s
-
-
Heart UK