Tag Archives: research

The psychology of video games

Did you know there’s an entire blog devoted to exploring the psychology of video games? This blog has become so popular that it’s now a regular column in Gamespot. Here are some posts that caught my eye:


Psychology finds evidence that humans can see into the future?!?

You just gotta read this article:

Is there evidence that we can see into the future?

Some quotes from the article:

It describes a series of experiments involving more than 1000 student volunteers. In most of the tests, Bem took well-studied psychological phenomena and simply reversed the sequence, so that the event generally interpreted as the cause happened after the tested behaviour rather than before it.

In one experiment, students were shown a list of words and then asked to recall words from it, after which they were told to type words that were randomly selected from the same list. Spookily, the students were better at recalling words that they would later type.

In another study, Bem adapted research on “priming” – the effect of a subliminally presented word on a person’s response to an image. For instance, if someone is momentarily flashed the word “ugly”, it will take them longer to decide that a picture of a kitten is pleasant than if “beautiful” had been flashed. Running the experiment back-to-front, Bem found that the priming effect seemed to work backwards in time as well as forwards.

Follow up on the purchasing experiences vs material goods research

Here’s a link to the CNN story that reported the findings that purchasing experiences make you happier than purchasing material goods. Here’s a quote:

The most striking difference was in how participants said others around them reacted to either the purchased object or experience. Experiences led to more happiness in others than purchases did. A sense of relatedness to others — getting closer to friends and family — may be one of the reasons why experiences generate more happiness.

“When people spend money on life experiences, whether they also take someone with them or buy an extra ticket or whatever, most of our life experiences involve other individuals,” Howell said. People were fulfilling their need for social bonding while having these experiences, he said. Visit CNNhealth.com, your connection for better living

Another reason for increased happiness in experiences, the researchers found, was that people felt a greater sense of vitality or “being alive” during the experience and in reflection, Howell said.

“As nice as your new computer is, it’s not going to make you feel alive,” he said.

Here’s the link to the full research paper on this study.

Here’s a second study that was performed at the University of Chicago, that suggests one other significant factor in whether experiential purchases made you happier was how the purchase turned out. If the purchase turned out positively, experiential purchases made subjects happier than material ones, but if the purchase turned out negatively, there was no difference in happiness for experiential vs material purchases.

Dweck’s latest work—You have as much willpower as you think you do

I saw this headline in Science Daily, and I thought “gee, this sounds like Dweck’s research,” and sure enough, it looks like Dweck is extending her research about fixed and growth mindset to ask questions about willpower. Here’s a key finding:

If you think of willpower as something that’s biologically limited, you’re more likely to be tired when you perform a difficult task,” said Veronika Job, the paper’s lead author. “But if you think of willpower as something that is not easily depleted, you can go on and on.

Now, test your growing understanding of pyschology research. How do you think Prfoessor Dweck’s students were able to measure this effect? Who did they study?

You can read the Science Daily Article here:

Need a Study Break to Refresh? Maybe Not, Say Researchers.

Here’s a link to the article abstract. I will post the full article once I can find access to it.

article link:

Ego Depletion—Is it all in your head?


You can participate in an international research study of happiness with your iphone

Your iphone turns out to be a great instrument for scientific research. Many studies in have been done by giving people a device that regularly alerts them and asks them to rate their happiness. Now the London School of Economics has written an application to do this, greatly opening the possible pool of research subjects—maybe even you?

Here’s the link: http://www.mappiness.org.uk/