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PSYCHO/BIOLOGICAL 
CONSIDERATIONS FOR 
HUMAN INTERACTIONS 
WITHIN VIDEO GAMES 
Bowman · Cummings · Grizzard 
Huskey · Lync...
PANEL DESCRIPTION 
The current panel explores the general utility of psycho/biological 
variables by reviewing relevant th...
PROCESS > CONTENT 
Response 
Stimulus-Response models consider the 
Content as key to media effects… 
…but they fail to 
c...
PROCESS > CONTENT 
Communication is a “process by 
which we stimulate meaning in 
the minds of others.” 
(McCroskey & Rich...
S  O  R 
VIDEO games 
• Narrative worlds 
Video GAMES 
• Ludic systems
Taking video game 
research to task 
Bowman 
Interaction Lab 
(#ixlab)
VIDEO GAMES ARE DEMANDING 
• Video games are inherently 
unfinished texts requiring 
players to exert agency 
• “…in a vid...
VIDEO GAMES ARE DEMANDING 
• Interactivity is Demanding 
– Cognitively demanding 
– Behaviorally demanding 
– Affectively ...
COGNITIVE DEMAND 
• In video game, 
performance is based 
on our ability to control 
the interactivity (form + 
content) 
...
COG + AFFECTIVE DEMAND
AFFECTIVE DEMAND 
“Lugo: You’re f*cking kidding, 
right? That’s white phosphorous! 
Walker: Yeah I know what it is… 
Lugo:...
AFFECTIVE DEMAND 
“When players recall 
meaningful gaming 
experiences, they 
reported on how those 
storylines helped the...
BEHAVIORAL DEMAND
BEHAVIORAL 
DEMAND Training 
n = 110 (63 ♀) 
n = 57 n = 53 
Mission Roaming 
Walkers relied on 
their dominant 
habit, whi...
SOCIAL DEMAND 
• Gaming and sociability 
– Games as “third spaces of 
discourse” 
– Extraverts prefer gaming 
– Gaming fos...
SOCIAL DEMAND 
When playing in front 
of an audience, easy 
games became easier… 
…but hard games 
didn’t change at all!
VIDEO GAMES AND DEMANDING 
• Implications
FOR MORE INFORMATION 
http://comm.wvu.edu 
/fs/research/lab 
Nick Bowman, Ph.D. [CV] 
Twitter (@bowmanspartan) 
Skype (nic...
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Taking video games to task

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As part of a panel on the "Psycho/biological considerations for human interactions within video games" at NCA 2014, Dr Nick Bowman presents a summary of his work on task demand and video games.

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Taking video games to task

  1. 1. PSYCHO/BIOLOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR HUMAN INTERACTIONS WITHIN VIDEO GAMES Bowman · Cummings · Grizzard Huskey · Lynch · Matthews · Weber
  2. 2. PANEL DESCRIPTION The current panel explores the general utility of psycho/biological variables by reviewing relevant theories, hypothetical applications, and contemporary findings surrounding video game research. Often, media research relies heavily on social learning theories. Although useful, the explanatory power of nurture based models is limited. However, some psychological and/or biological perspectives provide a human-centric understanding of effects that accounts for individual differences and processing. Thus, the current panel illustrates how psycho/biological considerations may yield new understanding of existing relationships and illuminate fresh avenues for future work.
  3. 3. PROCESS > CONTENT Response Stimulus-Response models consider the Content as key to media effects… …but they fail to consider the role of Processing in the media effects equation. Stimulus Organism
  4. 4. PROCESS > CONTENT Communication is a “process by which we stimulate meaning in the minds of others.” (McCroskey & Richmond, 1996)
  5. 5. S  O  R VIDEO games • Narrative worlds Video GAMES • Ludic systems
  6. 6. Taking video game research to task Bowman Interaction Lab (#ixlab)
  7. 7. VIDEO GAMES ARE DEMANDING • Video games are inherently unfinished texts requiring players to exert agency • “…in a video game, if somebody is crying it’s likely because the player both caused it and can solve it.” (Oliver et al., in press) What happens next? That’s up to you.
  8. 8. VIDEO GAMES ARE DEMANDING • Interactivity is Demanding – Cognitively demanding – Behaviorally demanding – Affectively demanding – Socially demanding? LC4MP
  9. 9. COGNITIVE DEMAND • In video game, performance is based on our ability to control the interactivity (form + content) • One such control is our cognitive abilities (a few) cognitive skills found to correlate w/ game performance: 2D mental rotation 3D mental rotation Moving targeting Fixed targeting Eye-hand coordination Fine motor skill Word completion
  10. 10. COG + AFFECTIVE DEMAND
  11. 11. AFFECTIVE DEMAND “Lugo: You’re f*cking kidding, right? That’s white phosphorous! Walker: Yeah I know what it is… Lugo: You’ve seen what the sh*t does! You know we can’t … Adams: ...We might not have a choice Lugo… Lugo: There’s always a choice!”
  12. 12. AFFECTIVE DEMAND “When players recall meaningful gaming experiences, they reported on how those storylines helped them feel a sense of poignancy and insightfulness as they were able to relate to the story content”
  13. 13. BEHAVIORAL DEMAND
  14. 14. BEHAVIORAL DEMAND Training n = 110 (63 ♀) n = 57 n = 53 Mission Roaming Walkers relied on their dominant habit, while non-walkers let the game guide them!
  15. 15. SOCIAL DEMAND • Gaming and sociability – Games as “third spaces of discourse” – Extraverts prefer gaming – Gaming fosters relatedness – Interdependence (from gaming) fosters transactive memory
  16. 16. SOCIAL DEMAND When playing in front of an audience, easy games became easier… …but hard games didn’t change at all!
  17. 17. VIDEO GAMES AND DEMANDING • Implications
  18. 18. FOR MORE INFORMATION http://comm.wvu.edu /fs/research/lab Nick Bowman, Ph.D. [CV] Twitter (@bowmanspartan) Skype (nicholasdbowman) nicholas.bowman@mail.wvu.edu Interaction Lab (#ixlab)

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