Psychological Engagement in Complex Multiplayer Games and Implications for Learning and Work

   Byron Reeves Byron Reeves ,   Stanford Dept. of Communication

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University January 12, 2007

Online multiplayer games and virtual environments engage people with features, some new and some familiar, that heighten psychological involvement in mediated interactions.  Important features includes new forms of self-representation, virtual economies and scoring systems, rich narratives where people play defined roles, and voice and chat communication systems that are configurable for simultaneous public and private interactions.  New experimental research will be presented that shows the effects of game features on psychological arousal and learning.  Ideas and new software will be presented that apply games features (especially features of self-representation, collaboration and virtual economies) to real work in ways that may increase business productivity.    

Byron Reeves is Paul C. Edwards Professor in the Department of Communication at Stanford and Co-Director of the new Stanford H-STAR Institute (Human Sciences and Technology Advanced Research).  He is also faculty director of the Stanford Media X Program that is part of the H-STAR Institute.  He does experimental research on the psychological processing of media in the areas of attention, emotions, learning, and physiological responses, and is co-author of The Media Equation:  How People Respond to Computer, Television and New Media Like Real People and Places.  His research has been the basis for new media products for companies such as Microsoft, IBM, and Hewlett-Packard, in the areas of voice interfaces, automated dialogue systems and conversational agents.  He is currently working on the applications of multi-player online games to the conduct of serious work.

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