Video Games and Operant Conditioning<br />The Virtual Skinner Box<br />
What is a Skinner Box<br />a box used in experiments in animal learning, esp. in operant conditioning, equipped with a mechanism that automatically gives the animal food or other reward or permits escape, as by opening a door<br />B.F. Skinner—20th Century Behavioral Psychologist<br />Radical behaviorism<br />Operant conditioning<br />Positive reinforcement<br />Reward schedules <br />
Quick Psychology Lesson<br />Radical Behaviorists (like Skinner) believe that ALL animal functions are attributable to external/internal physical stimuli. <br />Psychoanalysis is a fraud because you can explain actions without having to “guess” at the deep inner workings of the subconscious mind<br />Basically operant conditioning (OC) says that the frequency of a behavior will increase if it is rewarded, and that it will decrease if it is punished<br />
Schedule of Reward<br />Continuous – behavior is rewarded every time it is displayed <br />Every time Sniffy presses the bar he gets a treat<br />Extinction – behavior is never rewarded<br />Intermittent – only some instances of behavior are rewarded<br />Ratio schedule (such as 3:1 behavior: reward) is most common<br />
Timing is Everything in Behavioral Conditioning<br />Reward needs to be linked closely in time/association to the behavior being trained<br />Reward strain – if reward schedule changes to rapidly, performance begins to go extinct<br />Learned apathy/learned helplessness<br />Resistance to extinction – some intermittent and variable reward schedules allow greater increases in variables and make behavior more resistant to extinction<br />
Does Operant Conditioning Work on Humans?<br /> aka “can I put my boyfriend in a Skinner box?”<br />
Operant Conditioning and Human Learning<br />FIVE MAIN OBSTACLES TO LEARNING<br />People have a fear of failure. <br />The task is not broken down into small enough steps. <br />There is a lack of directions. <br />There is also a lack of clarity in the directions. <br />Positive reinforcement is lacking. <br />
Operant Conditioning and Human Learning<br />Any age-appropriate skill can be taught using five principles to remedy the problems:<br />Give the learner immediate feedback. <br />Break down the task into small steps. <br />Repeat the directions as many times as possible. <br />Work from the most simple to the most complex tasks. <br />Give positive reinforcement. <br />
Video Games and Operant Conditioning<br />Most MMORPGs use variable/intermittent schedules of reward/reinforcement <br />More work, less pay-out<br />Most casual immersive environments use a fixed interval reinforcement <br />The truly addictive games (think EVER-CRACK and WoW) use a random interval reinforcement schedule<br />You have to keep playing because you never know when that extra skill point is coming or how many points you’ll get for that battle<br />
Why are games so addictive?<br />Ever wondered HOW that “guy you know” manages to log 30+ hours a week in WoW?<br />Daily quests<br />Training and complex quests<br />Side games/hobbies/etc<br />Everything about the game is designed to keep you coming back<br />No pause button; you log-out, you get left behind<br />
What’s Next?<br />Researchers at USC’s Institute for Creative Technology are developing virtual reality diagnostic tools for assessing and treating a variety of DSM-IV disorders, including Alzheimer’s and PTSD<br />There are also VR tools to help patients learn to manage pain and to teach doctors how to talk to patients (really, can bedside manner be taught?)<br />
VR Diagnostics<br />These VR diagnostics vary—virtual patients for training purposes, VR environments for aversion therapy in phobia treatment, 3D puzzles for depth perception and visuospacial memory<br />Immersing a patient in a controlled VR environment and training certain social response is really the ultimate Skinner box<br />http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyN67vqoxl0<br />http://www.vidoemo.com/yvideo.php?i=NzZLUjNpcWuRpdEcwS0E&operant-conditioning=<br />
Some really neat resources<br />http://www.nickyee.com/eqt/skinner.html<br />This article actually analyzes EverQuest in terms of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and how that overlaps on the operant conditioning to create interconnected community Skinner Box networks<br />http://onlyagame.typepad.com/only_a_game/2008/01/freedom-to-fail.html<br />Unrelated article that talks about fail/continue games<br />
A particular slide catching your eye?
Clipping is a handy way to collect important slides you want to go back to later.