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Examining the intersection of psychology and video games

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Podcast 69: Game Transfer Phenomena

Ever seen or heard something from a video game while you weren’t playing? Ever had an urge to climb a building or select from a dialogue wheel hours after you pushed away from the keyboard or controller? In this episode, I talk with my guest expert about these kinds of “game transfer phenomena” and their implications. This episode’s guest expert,...

Podcast 68: Fan Conventions

Fan conventions like PAX, GenCon, ComicCon, and the like are fascinating places to ponder the psychology of fandom. How do people develop understandings of how to behave in such environments? What rituals and shorthand do they use to identify and communicate with each other? Why do we behave as we do while elbowing our way through crowded convention...

Podcast 67: Esports Performance Consulting

Esports players are under a lot of pressure to perform. More than I am in any given match, that’s for sure. Fortunately, a lot of the lessons, models, and techniques from fields like sports psychology can be brought to bear on esports to help those players improve their performance, manage their stress, and be healthier. In this episode I talk with...

Podcast 66: Procedural Rhetoric in Games

There are lots of other games that seem to try to deliver a message, teach a lesson, or change an attitude. They’re often categorized as “serious games” or “games for change” or evenjust educational games. But can players tell when these games are trying to employ various rhetorical devices and strategies? And given that games are unique among all forms...

Podcast 65: Psychology and Final Fantasy

You know Final Fantasy, right? One of the longest-running and popular gaming franchises of all time. And unlike a lot of other long-lived games, it’s much heavier on storytelling, world-building, and character design. There’s a lot going on here, and a lot of it can be examined through an academic lens. And that’s what one group of researchers...

Podcast 64: How Can Games Make Us Happy?

Video games sometimes have an image problem. Honestly some days it feels like one black eye after another. But let’s not lose sight of the good stuff. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that video games help people and make our lives better. They create scaffolds on which we can build social support. They motivate us to improve. They get us into...

Podcast 63: Loss Aversion and Game Design

Ever had to sacrifice something in a game? Ever had to take one step back to go two steps forward and still didn’t feel great about it? Then you’ve experienced loss aversion. Loss aversion refers to the fact that we feel more pain from a loss than we do pleasure from an equivalent gain. Losses are worse than gains are good. Most of the time game...

My new Book on Psychology and Games is Out!

Order from Amazon.com The Engagement Game: Why Your Workplace Culture Should Look More Like a Video Game is a book for people who want to apply lessons from the psychology of video games to being better in the world of work. Take lessons from video games on how to improve: Employee engagementGoal settingFeedback and performance managementGrowth...

Podcast 62: The Psychology of Trolling

A lot of us have probably had the unfortunate experience of dealing with trolls in video games. Those obnoxious people who team kill, throw games, trash talk to get a rise out of people, and generally try to ruin our game. Why do people do this? Do they get something out of it or are they just “broken”? A lot of us like to think the latter,...

Podcast 61: Twitch Donations

Is it weird that people not only watch other people play games on Twitcha nd similar platforms, but sometimes they actually pay the streamers for it?From a psychologist’s or communications researcher’s point of view, what kinds of relationships do streamers and audience members have? How is it different from other kinds of online relationships? And...

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