About the site


Every year, hundreds of millions of people play video games on a console, computer, phone, or web browser. These games are carefully constructed and slyly marketed according to research on motivation and decision making. This website offers something unique: a discussion of how the psychology behind games shapes our behavior, manipulates our beliefs, and rigs our purchasing decisions.

Each entry reveals research on questions that all gamers wonder about. Examples include how online anonymity releases our inner jerks, why violent games are so satisfying, and how supposedly “free to play” iPhone apps leech our money away 99 cents at a time. The list of Top 10 Articles is a good place to start.

If you would like to use any of the material on this site for educational purposes such as sharing with students, I think that’s awesome. Please let me know about it and how it goes.

About the author

Jamie Madigan has a Ph.D. in psychology and has become an expert on the psychology of video games. He has been published in refereed scientific journals and presented at conventions for psychologists. He also co-authored a column for several years in The Industrial Psychologist, the quarterly magazine for the Society for Industrial-Organizational Psychologists. He has written on the topic of the psychology of games for PsychologyToday.com, Edge Magazine, Gamasutra.com, Gamesindustry.biz, and GamePro magazine. He has the strength of ten tiny men, each of which has 1/10 the strength of one normal man.

On the gaming side, Jamie is a life-long gamer who participated in the gaming industry boom for several years with a company called GameSpy Industries where he built web-based services and products related to video games. He has also written dozens (hundreds?) of game reviews, previews, and related articles, as well three books on the subject. Well, they were strategy guides, but still books. Jamie has covered trade shows and conventions like E3, Game Developer’s Conference, Quakecon, and others as a member of the press.

Finally, Jamie has appeared as an expert on the psychology of video games in over a dozen print, web, and radio outlets, including The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, BBC Radio 5, the BBC, The Guardian, Official Playstation Magazine UK, The Verge, Livescience.com, The Escapist, MMORPG.com, Kotaku, The Gameological Society, Sky News HD, The Jace Hall Show, and Polygon. He has also contributed content to the 2012 book Playful Design: Creating Game Experiences in Everyday Interfaces and delivered a lecture on the psychology of online game behavior at the 2010 Login Conference in Seattle, Washington.

Oh, and you should totally follow him on Twitter and the Psychology of Games page on Facebook. Studies show that this is awesome.

Occasionally I write articles on the psychology of video games for places other than here. It’s like I’m a mercenary. A mercenary of words. And some numbers. Small ones.

Articles I’ve Written For Magazines and Other Sites

Gamasutra.com has also reprinted selected articles from this blog, and I write a similar blog for PsychologyToday.com called Mind Games.

Articles and Books I’ve Been Quoted In

The nifty game controller/brain logo used on the site was created by Kristopher Purzycki.