Psychological Aspects of Serious Games

Psychological Aspects of Serious Games

Elizabeth Boyle (University of the West of Scotland, UK)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4773-2.ch001
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Over the past fifteen years there has been increasing interest in serious games as a new medium for learning, skill acquisition, and training. Developing and evaluating engaging and effective serious games presents an interdisciplinary challenge. Psychology is at the interface between hard science and social science and is uniquely placed to play an integrative role in advancing our understanding of the characteristics and impacts of serious games. As the diversity of the chapters in this book illustrates, psychologists have wide-ranging interests in serious games. The purpose of the current chapter is to introduce key concepts, constructs, theories, and research in psychology to examine areas where these are relevant to serious games and provide a context for subsequent chapters in the book.
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Serious games is a relatively new area of research, but there has been an explosion of interest in games over the past fifteen years as authors have speculated about their potential as an engaging new method for learning. The diverse nature of publications about serious games has led to criticisms that the area is fragmented and lacking in coherence (Ke, 2009). A number of researchers have aimed to develop organisational frameworks for serious games. With entertainment games, game genre provides a means of categorising games based on common activities required in these games (Herz, 1997). O’Brien (2011) attempted a similar categorisation for serious games distinguishing linear games, competitive games, strategy games and role playing games and tried to relate these game genres to the different cognitive functions that they support. Sawyer and Smith (2008) developed a taxonomy of serious games, categorising games according to the game discipline/ function of the game (games for health, education, business etc.) as well as the sectors in which the games might be used (government and defence, healthcare, advertising, education, industry etc.).

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