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What’s the formula for habit-forming mobile games like Pokemon Go? How do you break these habits if you don’t want them?
Twitch has added microtransactions as a way to support streamers. Cool. But what are some psychological quirks at play?
How can biofeedback and psychophysiology –the physiological bases of mental processes– be used to design better video games?
Do achievements, badges, and trophies in video games work? If so, why?
What is it about video games that make them such effective tools for learning and teaching people new material?
How Dark Souls 3 taught me to be a better parent by encouraging me to embrace failure.
In this episode we discuss friendships and other relationships formed in online games. Can they substitute for offline relationships? Are they better or worse in some ways?
Wait. Don’t identify that loot yet. You’ll enjoy it more.
I talk with Ben Lewis Evans, a psychologist and UX researcher at Epic Games, about simulation sickness in VR and how developers work around it.
A recording of the slide deck I used for a lecture on video games, psychology, and product engagement.
Video: How a small tweak to Blizzard’s new game might nudge people towards sportsmanship.
Enjoyed the articles and podcasts over the years? Kick a buck or two my way to keep them coming.
Nick Yee from Quantic Foundry talks about their research on what motivates different kinds of people to play different kinds of games.
Some of my favorite stupid sentences from my book about the psychology of video games.
Four free talks from the Game’s Developer Conference about psychology and video games.
This episode I talk to Dr. Emily Collins about how video games can be used to recover from a stressful day.
Why some games and some experiences make us feel more helpless than others –and what designers can do about it.
In this episode I talk to Dr. Christopher J. Ferguson about research on the effects of video game violence.
Why are some games better than others at getting us to just keep playing without taking a break?
How do video games affect our health –both physical and mental– for better or worse?
The 2015 Steam Winter Sale has ditched the daily and flash deals. Here’s why I think that may be a bad idea.
I talk to Dr. C. Shawn Green from the University of Wisconsin-Madison about whether brain training programs work and if regular old action games can make you smarter –and what that really means.
How a simple choice of words can bias your choices in video games, such as what NPC factions to support.
I talk to Dr. Nick Bowman from West Virginia University 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.
In celebration of Halloween, let’s look at some of the psychology behind why people like scary video games.
“Wii U” sounds silly, but Nintendo’s consoles might be benefiting a little from what’s known as the fluency effect.
Getting Gamers: The Psychology of Video Games and Their Impact on the People Who Play Them is a book about how video games use psychology to shape our behavior, manipulate our beliefs, and rig our purchasing decisions.
How can envy can drive us to make in-game purchases and microtransactions? But also, what do we think of others who just buy things we chose to grind out? Let’s see what the research suggests.
An old technique from film making has psychological roots that reach into the world of video games.
What’s the popular topics and state of academic research on psychology and video games? And how can academics package that information for the media and everyone else?
How do gaming Kickstarters that rely on nostalgia make use of our irrational decision-making?
If the users of games are humans, then a little psychology should help a lot in user research, right? Celia Hodent from Epic Games explains why in this episode.
How do players react and what social comparisons do they make when others pay real money for in-game advantages?
How can a little psychology make NPCs and other artificial intelligence agents in games seem more like real humans?
How the irrational way we treat “free” as a price in games can lead us astray …or keep us on track.
I talk to Dr. Jeffrey Lin about using psychology to curb toxic behavior in online games.
What do the ending of the Mass Effect series and a painful medical procedure have in common? They both illustrate how memory and evaluation of experiences interact.
I talk to Dr. Linda Kaye about psychological flow in video games, including the new topic of group flow in multiplayer gaming.
After 6 years and 151 pieces of content, I’m asking for a little support to move this whole psychology of games thing forward.
Some recent research suggests how to predict whether motion controls and other weird peripherals will lead to frustration or enjoyment.
We talk to Dr. Nick Yee about game companies’ use of big data and how he became a video game psychologist.
Get 3 free talks about psychology and video games from the 2015 Game Developer’s Conference.
3 psychological phenomena that can help determine the success (or failure) of a Kickstarter video game pitch.
I talk to Dr. Andrew Przybylski from Oxford about video game aggression, frustration, rage quitting, and motivation.
All it may take to get people to spend money in free to play games is one well placed countdown timer.
Has anyone ever done research on whether playing on the red team or the blue gives one a mental edge in games? Yep.
I have an article on the psychology behind loot, grinding, and player envy in the new issue of Edge Magazine, #276. Read more for some more details.
I’m almost done with my book, but I need your help if you’re interested in covering it for your publication, providing pre-release comments, or using it in your classroom.
How can information about players’ scores and other accomplishments be framed so as to motivate them to compete and try to do better than other players? Let’s explore 3 psychological phenomena that can help.
Destiny’s loot system leaves out one very important component that could make playing the game more compulsive and habit forming. But it adds in another that might be prolonging player enjoyment after getting a sweet loot drop.