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, PhD, has become an expert on the psychology of video games and seeks to popularize understanding of how various aspects of psychology can be used to understand why games are made how they are and why their players behave as they do. He is the author of the book, GETTING GAMERS: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF VIDEO GAMES AND THEIR IMPACT ON THE PEOPLE WHO PLAY THEM. Madigan also writes, podcasts, and lectures on the subject for various magazines, websites, and his own site at www.psychologyofgames.com. He has also consulted with game development companies and talked at conferences about how game developers can incorporate psychology principles into game design and how players can understand how it affects their play.

Finally, Jamie has appeared as an expert on the psychology of video games in dozens of print, web, and radio outlets, including The Washington Post, Wired, The Atlantic, the Chicago Tribune, The Times London, BBC Radio 5, the BBC, The Guardian, Official Playstation Magazine UK, The Verge, Livescience.com, The Escapist, MMORPG.com, Kotaku, Kill Screen, 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.

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.