Reality is a Game

Game thinking from Adam Clare

Tag: neuroscience

Crowdsourced Neuroscience Via Gaming

The Great Brain Experiment is looking to study our brains in a way that only functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanners could before and this is being done using a game. You can download the game onto an iOS or Android device and test yourself and how you compare to others through a series of specially-designed mini games. This is a new project from University College London (UCL) and they are looking to leverage game-collected big data to asses our brains, which is a first as far as I know. This form of data collection can save money because the cost of fMRI time is just too damn high.

“The Great Brain Experiment is one of the first neuroscience experiments to ‘gamify’ data collection and crowdsource it to volunteers. This has the potential to be the largest neuroscience experiment ever conducted, marking a new development in citizen science and allowing us to ask some really interesting questions that have never before been possible to ask in neuroscience.”

My favourite mini game in the app is the picture test, but only because I outperform “the average person” (it’s all about the small victories in life, isn’t it?). “In the game, the user sees a succession of different images, each of which appears very briefly. In the middle might be two different images of cats; at the end, the user is asked to select the second cat out of a choice of four. The majority of people will not be able to answer correctly.”

You can read more about the game from UCL’s press release.

League of Legends Use Neuroscientists to Curb Bad Online Behaviour

I’m loving the “new” Polygon and an article from a few weeks ago is an example of why their game coverage is so enjoyable.

League of Legends (LoL) is a game that is classified as a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) and is known to have a rather, um, rude community around it. As Polygon repots, LoL is using psychologists and neuroscientists to increase positivity in the community.

Earlier this year, Riot Games started assembling its player behavior team, bringing in PhDs in cognitive neuroscience, human factors psychology, and statistics to reduce toxic behavior online and increase sportsmanship in the League of Legends community.

The really cool thing about their approach is that they are already making a difference. They have changed the behaviour through a combination of small user experience modification to introducing entirely new game mechanics. The ability of mechanics to change how people interact is blatantly obvious in their approach.

“We want to show other companies and other games that it is possible to tackle player behavior and with certain systems and game design tools, we can shape players to be more positive.”

One of Riot’s experiments in curbing negative behavior was a simple one: turning off all-player chat as a default. Players had to opt-in to it. Prior to the experiment, Riot says that more than 80 percent of player chat was “extremely negative,” compared to 8.7 percent positive.

A week later, after turning off all-player chat as the default, many players still opted in, but behavior changed. According to Riot, negative chat saw a decrease by 32.7 percent. Positive chat went up, by 34.5 percent. A drop in offensive language and verbal abuse was also observed.

Via the Mary Sue.

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