I’ve now done four episodes of the podcast. I’m pretty proud of them. I know what the next two are going to be. The next one will be about decision making (well, one small area within decision making, as that broad topic could have 6-8 episodes at least). Then, the sixth one will be a different type of episode, one I’m currently calling a “game vivisection,” where I take one game and examine it from different angles, both cognitively and otherwise. I think I know which game it will be first.
Six episodes then I think will be, not necessarily a “season” but a set. A set of episodes will then have 3-4 shows where I look specifically at a cognitive concept, relating that one concept to a number of games, 1 or 2 more philosophical podcasts, and then 1 or 2 game vivisections.
And, there are people I don’t even know listening to the podcasts! The Word Press plugin I use gives me some info about number of downloads per episodes, along with how they got the episode (Hello! Overcast listeners; that’s the app I use; and, hi to my one listener from Stitcher!) I set a pretty modest goal of listeners for the outset, think double digits, and it has been met. Once I get six episodes in the can, I’m going to try to “market” a bit more and I have a new goal for after that.
Thanks to all who have listened so far!
For about as long as there have been computers, there have been computer programs that play games. This episode considers some of the history of game playing computers, and how that has shed light on the nature of human intelligence.
Chess, Go, Jeopardy!, Pong, Tic-tac-toe, Uncharted, Video Olympics
Isaacson, W. (2014). The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution. Simon and Schuster: New York: NY.
Licklider, J. C. (1960). Man-computer symbiosis. IRE Transactions on Human Factors in Electronics, 1, 4-11.
Metz, C. (2016). What the AI behind AlphaGo can teach us about being human, Wired.
Montfort, N., & Bogost, I. (2009). Racing the Beam: The Atari Video Computer System. MIT Press: Cambridge, MA.
You need to have focused attention while playing games. If you don’t, you might miss a critical move in a board game, or totally miss that other player about to blast you in Call of Duty. This episode considers how attention works as we play games.
Captain Sonar, Horizon Zero Dawn, Pandemic Legacy, Stroop
James, W. (2013). The Principles of Psychology. New York: Henry Holt and Company.
Simons, D. J., & Chabris, C. F. (1999). Gorillas in our midst: Sustained inattentional blindness for dynamic events. Perception, 28(9), 1059-1074.
Simons, D. J., & Levin, D. T. (1998). Failure to detect changes to people during a real-world interaction. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 5(4), 644-649.
Stroop, J. R. (1935). Studies of interference in serial verbal reactions. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 18(6), 643-662.
Simons and Chabris Visual Attention Demo
Simons and Levin Visual Attention Demo
Change Blindness Demo
We can now be reached on Twitter, @cognitive_gamer
Visual memory has a different character than verbal memory. This episode examines the nature of our visual memory, and how it is used in such games as Tetris, Carcassonne, and any game that has a map that your character must navigate.
Assassins Creed, Asteroids, Breakout, Carcassonne, DixIt, Horizon Zero Dawn, Pandemic, Patchwork, Risk, Super Mario Brothers, Tetris, Tsuro, Watch Dogs 2
Shepard, R.N., & Metzler, J. (1971) Mental rotation of three-dimensional objects. Science, 171, 701-703.
Kosslyn, S. M., Ball, T. M., & Reiser, B. J. (1978). Visual images preserve metric spatial information: Evidence from studies of image scanning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 4, 47-60.
Pylyshyn, Z.W. (2002). Mental Imagery: In search of a theory. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 25, 157–182.
Clive Wearing video
Okay, the first episode of the podcast is now up on iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher. More than likely, no matter how you listen to podcasts, it probably works with one of those services (but, let me know if it doesn’t). Please subscribe!
The direct links to each of those services can be found here, on the About page.
Okay, I figured out ID3 tags and the whole publishing process. I just logged into Apple’s portal for submitting podcasts to their service, and the Cognitive Gamer podcast is now under review (see picture!). Wheeee!!! Oh, and I just got this email:
Dear Podcast Owner
Your podcast feed, [ my feed URL] was successfully added and is now under review.
The iTunes Store Team
I will let you all know when it goes live and you can acquire it via iTunes’ Podcast app or any other app that subscribes to that service. I may submit it to a couple of other services, but basically about everyone uses iTunes’ feed.
Oh, if you want to listen now, you can just click the Podcasts link in the menu above and get it that way… But, hopefully in the next 2-3 days (Apple’s review process takes a little while) it will appear in podcast feeds everywhere.
How verbal items are stored in long term affect how they are retrieved. This in turn affects how we play a fair number of games, as they require retrieval of items from long term memory. In particular, I consider such games as Codenames, Scattergories, and Taboo.
Codenames, Monikers, Scattergories, Taboo, Trivial Pursuit, Wits and Wagers
Loftus, E. F. (1973). Activation of semantic memory. American Journal of Psychology, 86, 331-337.
For those who want to know more about the mathematics and computation behind memory retrieval:
Raaijmakers, J.G.W. (2008). Mathematical models of human memory. In H. L. Roediger, III (Ed.), Cognitive Psychology of Memory. Vol. 2 of Learning and Memory: A Comprehensive Reference, 445-466. Oxford: Elsevier.
I have recorded the first podcast! I have the mp3 file that might be what I push out into the world as the first episode. I need to give it another good listen and get some feedback. I have been figuring out ID3 tags and how exactly to register my podcast feed with iTunes’ podcast connect service so that everyone can access it. Perhaps by the end of the week anyone who wants can download the first episode!
I have a draft of the second episode written, so it is almost ready to be recorded. I know what the third one is going to be about, and have ideas for the next couple. My hope is to have 6 episodes up on the RSS feed by the end of the summer (so, August 31, let’s say).
Hello! It’s been a while since my last update. I made it through finals week, and then my 2-week summer course happened, PSY 225: The Cognition of Game Playing. From my perspective, and I think from my 8 students’ perspectives, it was a success. I had a lot of fun teaching the class, the students enjoyed it, and I believe they learned some cognitive psychology as well. Here is the syllabus, and the revised schedule. Things went pretty much according to plan, except that we didn’t play quite as many games as listed (though at most only one got cut out per day, or we didn’t play through a whole game as planned). We went back and forth between discussing material and playing games. As you can see, I picked games that tied to the topic we just talked about (for the most part), and used that to jump start some good conversations. The textbook was okay (perhaps as good as any textbook, I suppose), and we had some good discussions surrounding Jamie Madigan’s Getting Gamers book.
I would call the course a success. I would change a few things here and there, as I would with most courses. I need to figure out a better way to more tightly couple the game playing with talking about cognitive psychology, and for when I teach this as a regular semester course, I need to think about how to make the course work for 25 students. It worked great with 8.
Of the couple dozen games we played, Secret Hitler was their favorite, somewhat surprisingly. We ended up playing it 3 times in a row on the last day. Other favorites included Carcassonne and Dixit. I also brought in my Playstation VR setup and we enjoyed it for part of one class, talking about various psychological issues relating to virtual reality.
Now that we are through that experience, and the kids have ended their school year (and, we took a couple days off to visit Disney), I will buckle down to my main summer activities: sabbatical stuff with the Glazer Children’s Museum, vacation bible school, a chapter I’ve been asked to write about blogging, and what I’m really looking forward to, creating a podcast! I have the first one about done. Once I get two, maybe three in the can, I’ll get them up on iTunes and figure out how to make a bigger splash on this site.