Check out the charity auction!

If you got here from the link that Jamey Stegmaier posted in the Scythe Metal Mechs Special Edition Charity Auction on boardgamegeek, welcome! If you like podcasts about games or psychology, you have come to the right place! Let me know if you have questions!

If you are unaware of this auction, Cognitive Gamer is part of a charity auction on the popular boardgame site, You have from now till mid-day Saturday to bid on the new metal mechs upgrade for Scythe. All proceeds will benefit charities that the various bloggers/podcasters/etc. that Jamey has picked to highlight during the auction. You can check it out here! Whatever Cognitive Gamer raises will go to the Boston Children’s Hospital Trust. Thanks so much!

Episode 20: Building Minds with Scaffolding

I’m joined again by the resident developmental psychologist, where we talk about scaffolding, a learning technique where help and assistance are removed bit by bit until the full skill has been learned.

Game References

My Little Scythe, Scythe, Sleuth, Sushi Go, Ticket to Ride

Research References

Flavell, J. H. (1963). The Developmental Psychology of Jean Piaget. D Van Nostrand, Princeton, NJ.

Wertsch, J. V. (1985). Vygotsky and the Social Formation of Mind Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.

Episode 19: Decrypto and Codenames CG Cognalysis

I take a dive into Decrypto, comparing how clues are given in it versus in Codenames. Both the similarities and differences shed light into our cognitive processes and how items are stored in our memories. Spoiler alert: Bayes’ Theorem is discussed!

Game References

Codenames, Decrypto, Downforce, Monikers, Outburst, Secret Hitler, Taboo

Research References

Gallistel, C. R. (1992). Animal Cognition. MIT Press: Boston, MA.

Anderson, J. R. (1996). ACT: A simple theory of complex cognition. American Psychologist51(4), 355-365.

Episode 18: Attributions are Fundamental

We are constantly explaining to ourselves why events happen. When those explanations involve linking the outcome of an event with our response, a psychologist would refer to them as an attribution. We explore how attributions affect our game playing.

Game References

Azul, Diplomacy, DOTA 2, God of War, Journal 29, Overwatch, Sagrada, Star Wars Destiny, The Witness

Research References

Heider, F. (1944). Social perception and phenomenal causality. Psychological Review51(6), 358.

Ross, L. (1977). The Intuitive Psychologist And His Shortcomings: Distortions in the Attribution Process1. In Advances in Experimental Social Psychology (Vol. 10, pp. 173-220). Academic Press.

Weiner, B. (1972). Attribution theory, achievement motivation, and the educational process. Review of Educational Research42(2), 203-215.

Episode 17: Represent!

The representativeness heuristic is another rule-of-thumb that we use when we need to make a decision. We apply it when we decide an event is likely to happen if it resembles, or is representative, of the category from which it belongs.

Game References

Assassins Creed, Dungeons and Dragons, El Grande, God of War, Incan Gold, Last of Us, Lords of Hellas, Risk, Rising Sun, Small World, Watch Dogs

Research References

Englestein, G. GameTek Classic 163 – Theme, Mechanics, Experience

Tversky, A., & Kahneman, D. (1974). Judgment under uncertainty: Heuristics and biases. Science185(4157), 1124-1131.

Episode 16: Virtual Gaming

Virtual reality adds new dimensions to games. Psychology informs us of the issues on what goes on in a virtual environment. Join the discussion as we hit some of the big topics in this new way to play games. Also, Fireball Island addendum to ep 15!

Game References

Fireball Island, Playstation VR Worlds, Star Wars Battlefront I, The Void: Secrets of the Empire, Catan VR

Research References

Curtis, Michael K., Kayla Dawson, Kelli Jackson, Liat Litwin, Chase Meusel, Michael C. Dorneich, Stephen B. Gilbert, Jonathan Kelly, Richard Stone, & Eliot Winer. (2015, September). Mitigating Visually Induced Motion Sickness: A virtual hand-eye coordination task. In Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting (Vol. 59, No. 1, pp. 1839-1843). Sage CA: Los Angeles, CA: SAGE Publications.

Mori, M. (1970). The uncanny valley. Energy7(4), 33-35.

Strawberry example:

Episode 15: The Malleability of Memory

Some people have the idea that memory is like a tape recorder: if you remember it, that’s the way it happened. But, the data show that our memories can change quite a bit over the course of time. We discuss these experiments and what it means for games.

Game References

Aeon’s End, Assassins Creed, Clue, Dominion, Fury of Dracula, Letters from Whitechapel, Monikers, Outburst, Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, Sleuth, The Stanley Parable, Taboo

Research References

Jacoby, L. L., Kelley, C., Brown, J., & Jasechko, J. (1989). Becoming famous overnight: Limits on the ability to avoid unconscious influences of the past. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 56, 326-338.

Loftus, E. F., & Palmer, J. C. (1974). Reconstruction of automobile destruction: An example of the interaction between language and memory. Journal of verbal learning and verbal behavior13(5), 585-589.

Roediger H. L.III, McDermott K. B. (1995). Creating false memories: Remembering words not presented in lists. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 21, 803–814. doi:10.1037/0278-7393.21.4.803

Episode 14: Are You Available?

There are a number of heuristics that people use when they make decisions. In this episode, we discuss the availability heuristic and how we use it when playing games.

Game References

Battlefield, Celeste, Deception: Murder in Hong Kong, Doom, Dungeons and Dragons, Fog of Love, Gorogoa, Inis, Modern Art, Rising Sun, Secret Hitler, Sleuth, The Witness

Research References

Tversky, A., & Kahneman, D. (1974). Judgment under uncertainty: Heuristics and biases. Science185(4157), 1124-1131.

Episode 13: The Psychology and Design of Everyday Games

What might a cognitive psychologist say about game design? We discuss some of the issues Don Norman raised in his classic book The Design of Everyday Things and how that relates to game design, both from the player and the designer’s point of view.

Game References

Assassin’s Creed, Atari 2600, Catan, Fresco, Horizon Zero Dawn, Nintendo Wii, Pandemic, PS4, Scythe, Terraforming Mars, Ticket to Ride

Research References

Lindsay, P. & Norman, D. A. (1972). Human information processing; An introduction to psychology. Academic Press, New York.

Norman, D. (1988). The Design of Everyday Things. Basic Books, New York.

Selinker, M. (2011). The Kobold Guide to Board Game Design. Open Design.