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Special session: Measuring Behavior in a Game Context

Date:  Friday August 31

Organizers: Christof van Nimwegen (Dept. of Information and Computing Sciences, Utrecht University) and Herre van Oostendorp (Dept. of Information and Computing Sciences, Utrecht University)


 Entertainment games and serious games are becoming more and more popular. As a  consequence there is an increasing need to get a more precise understanding of the effects  of games, during playing the game (on-line) but also after the game (off-line). Investors  and funding organizations are demanding clear evidence that serious games actually work.  Fortunately there is evidence available, though sound empirical evidence is still scarce.  In this session we will present and discuss different ways of measuring behavior in the  context of games, on-line and off-line. This behavior can involve cognitive, attitudinal and  emotional aspects (such as player experience), but also transfer to behavior in real life,  particularly the last one is important because that is often the ultimate goal of serious  games.

The first presentation will involve assessing personality traits in the context of games. Due  to their involving nature games seem to be able to elicit natural reactions of players and to  suppress social desirable behavior. Van Nimwegen will present results of a study where the  personality trait Compliance of players was assessed in game context.

Games enable in principle to continuously assess players on-line. However it is not  immediately clear which on-line measures should be used. In the second presentation Van  der Spek will conclude that in-game measures (e.g. game scores) do not automatically tell  the complete picture. This (in-game scoring) measure will be compared with several other  cognitive and affective self-report measures and related to different types of game design  interventions.

Often serious games, have as aim to improve the acquisition of knowledge, not only  declarative knowledge but also deeper knowledge, often indicated by the term mental  models. In the third presentation Wouters will discuss a method which unravels  the underlying knowledge structure of a player. This method enables an in-depth  understanding of the concepts and their relationships that are regarded as important in  the domain of the game.

Important of course is also to have methods available to improve game design in such a  way that gaming experience is optimized. The fourth paper by Zaman will discuss research  on a tool to measure gamers’ motivation, preference and experience and connecting this to specific design elements.


10:00  Assessing the Personality Trait Compliance in a Game Context
  Christof van Nimwegen (1), Herre van Oostendorp (1), Alec Serlie (2), and  Joost Modderman (2)
  1 Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
  2  GITP Research, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

10:20  Effects of Playing a Serious Game: a Comparison of Different Cognitive and Affective Measures
  Erik D. van der Spek
  Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands.

10:40  Coffee break

11:10  Structural Knowledge Assessment: Change in Cognitive Structure due to 
  Playing a Serious Game
  P. Wouters
  Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

11:50  Player-Centric Game Design: Adding UX Laddering to the Method Toolbox for 
  Player Experience Measurement
  Bieke Zaman (1), and Vero Vanden Abeele (2)
  1 IBBT-CUO, KU Leuven, Belgium.  
  2 GROUP T-Leuven Engineering College, Leuven, Belgium. 

12:30  End of session