Episode 12: Cognitive Gamer Cognalysis: Horizon Zero Dawn

This episode contains a deep dive into the cognitive ins and outs of the Playstation 4 game Horizon Zero Dawn. Much of the analysis, though, could be applied to most open-world games. We’ll consider narrative, skill transfer, and types of knowledge.

Game References

Assassin’s Creed, Horizon Zero Dawn, Player Unknown’s Battleground, Watch Dogs

Research References

Crossman, E. R. F. W. (1959) A theory of the acquisition of speed-skill. Ergonomics, 2, 153–166.

Gunzelmann, G., & Anderson, J. R. (2006). Location matters: Why target location impacts performance in orientation tasks. Memory & Cognition34(1), 41-59.

Madigan, J. (2017). Don’t do your best: Goal setting and Horizon: Zero Dawn. Retrieved from http://www.psychologyofgames.com/2017/10/dont-do-your-best-goal-setting-and-horizonzero-dawn/

Newell, A. & Rosenbloom, P. S. (1981). Mechanisms of skill acquisition and the law of practice. In Anderson, J. R., editor, Cognitive skills and their acquisition, pages 1–55. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, NJ.

Seijts, G. H., & Latham, G. P. (2001). The effect of distal learning, outcome, and proximal goals on a moderately complex task. Journal of Organizational Behavior22(3), 291-307.

Sweller J., Ayres P., Kalyuga S. (2011) The Goal-Free Effect. In: Cognitive Load Theory. Explorations in the Learning Sciences, Instructional Systems and Performance Technologies, vol 1. Springer, New York, NY

Episode 10: Tell Me a Story

Many of our memories are structured around stories. They are a very powerful device, that allow us to remember and experience more than what we might otherwise. Using story and narrative within games can increase our enjoyment of them. I discuss the psychological reasons for this.

Game References

Adventure, Assassin’s Creed: Origins, Charterstone, Colossal Cave, Dungeons and Dragons, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, Fiasco, Gloomhaven, Gone Home, Haunted House, Horizon Zero Dawn, Kingdom Death: Monster, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Missile Command, Pandemic Legacy, Shadow of Mordor, Shadow of War, Space Invaders, Star Wars: Battlefront II, Tales of the Arabian Nights, and What Remains of Edith Finch

Research References

Bartlett, F. C., & Burt, C. (1933). Remembering: A study in experimental and social psychology. British Journal of Educational Psychology3(2), 187-192.

Blessing, S., & Skowronek, J. (2014, January). The Power of Personalization: Making a Museum Visit More Memorable with a Personalized Story. In Proceedings of the Cognitive Science Society (Vol. 36, No. 36).

Sulin, R. A., & Dooling, D. J. (1974). Intrusion of a thematic idea in retention of prose. Journal of Experimental Psychology103(2), 255.

Schank, R. C. (1990). Tell me a story: A new look at real and artificial memory. New York: Scribner.

War of the Ghosts story

Short update

Hi All! I have been working bit by bit on this, but after the flurry of activity that surrounded Spring Break, haven’t posted here in a while. My intent is to do a podcast, and I’m laying the groundwork for that. I’m a bit nervous about talking steady for 20+ min, so I’m going to mostly script the first show and see how that goes. It’s a lot more work, of course, but I won’t have to be as mindful about the “umms” and “uhhhhs” and awkward pauses! I have much of a first show in draft form.

The first episode is going to be about activation in long-term memory and how that plays out in games like Codenames, Taboo, and Scattergories. Not sure what the second episode may be, but will probably switch to a video game topic, like maybe attention and first person shooters. Also in the first handful of shows will be expertise and game-playing (lots of chess stuff there, of course), AI and game-playing, talking about Deep Blue and AlphaGo, something about proactive and retroactive interference while playing games (that happened to me recently when playing this deductive game called Antidote), and then there’s at least 2-3 episodes one could do on the Khaneman and Tverksy stuff. That’s 5 right there, and I can rattle off some more as well (what about the use of narrative in games and the power of story?)

I hope to get a a small number of episodes (well, at least 2; maybe 3) in the can before putting them up on a RSS feed so that iTunes can pick them up. That should happen mid-summer-ish?