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.
Sony just launched its PlayStation Now service that lets you rent access to streaming games. The pricing seems a bit odd to some, but it actually uses some well established psychological tricks to nudge you towards the option that Sony wants you to take. Allow me to explain…
Hey, while I work on my own book about the psychology of video games, here are three good reads on the topic to tide you over.
Does violent content in video games cause violence in real-life? Or might something more mundane like frustration over controls and difficulty offer an alternative explanation?
Products frequently try to appeal to group membership when marketing to gamers, but a new study shows when this “you’re not a real gamer if you don’t buy this” approach is likely to backfire.
What do Dark Souls and Thomas Was Alone have in common with a cartoon from 1944? They all illustrate how we’re biased to fill in story gaps based on our own experiences and beliefs.
Have you ever wanted to read about this stuff in book format? Good news!
Why do we feel like we have a real relationship and feelings for characters like Ellie in The Last of Us? The psychology behind parasocial relationships explains why video games are better at this than any other medium.
My wife was once highly offended by a cartoon mole, and the story highlights how a simple attack on self-concept can reduce the frequency and severity of cheating in video games.
Between Twitch and YouTube, many people are now gaming for an audience. What effect does this have on performance? It depends on the audience and the game.
The story of one very scary bridge may explain why Game of the Year discussions ignore the flaws in games like The Last of Us.
Here’s a list of 50+ academics on Twitter who study or write about the overlap between video games and fields like psychology, communications, sociology, law, and more. Find someone new to follow!
Are you more dominant, kind, assertive, clever, or flirty depending on how your character appears in-game? Both new and old research has shown that the avatars we adopt can influence our behaviors not only inside the game, but outside as well.
With the Xbox One and PS4 in stores this month, many of us are comparing bulleted lists of features when trying to decide which to buy. That’s a step up from blind fanboyism, but such an approach can still trigger a couple of mental errors in judgment. Here’s how to avoid them.
With the help of researchers in psychology and marketing, let’s explore why we tend to get nostalgic about old games, why we may be fooling ourselves about how great they were, why it may be a good thing anyway, and why it makes us vulnerable to marketers.
What effect does using highly sexualized avatars have on our preoccupation with body image and acceptance of rape myths? Some new research on self-perception theory and virtual reality avatars suggests some things you should be aware of the next time you sit down at a character creation screen.
The “less is more” effect can make one product seem more valuable than another even though it has less to offer. The Humble Bundle deals provide a great real-world example of how you might be willing to pay more if the deals were presented in just a slightly different way.
Candy Crush Saga is the most popular game on Facebook, iOS, and Android. Unsurprisingly, it uses a few psychological levers to move its players, and this article focuses on one of them to answer the question: Why do they limit the number of lives you have per day instead of letting you play as much as you want?
Level designers often use colors to guide players along their way. The psychology of inattentional blindness and traffic accidents has more in common with this than you might think.