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HYPOTHESIS TESTED
Designing Social Impact Games with Theoretical Frameworks
Clay Ewing
@claytical
c.ewing@miami.edu
Associ...
HUSTLING HEALTH
CARE (2010)
A tabletop game that simulated health
insurance markets before the Affordable
Care Act.
TANZANIAN SOCIAL
ACTION FUND (2012)
Working with the Tanzanian government
and the World Bank, we developed a
facilitated t...
“
”
IF YOU CAN MEASURE IT, THEN IT’S NOT THE CHANGE
I WANT TO SEE… IF YOUR GAME OR TECHNOLOGY
REALLY ‘WORKS’ IT FREAKS ME ...
VANITY
A tabletop game where players take on the
role of aspiring actors competing at
auditions. The game aims to teach
te...
UNSAVORY (2015)
You play as a minimum wage worker in a
fast casual restaurant preparing burritos.
Your goal is to survive ...
“
”
AFTER I ANALYZED THE RESULTS FROM THIS STUDY, I WAS
DISMAYED TO FIND THAT PLAYING THE GAME HAD NO
EFFECT ON POSITIVE F...
“
”
WHEN IMPACT IS DEFINED TOO NARROWLY, SOME
GAMES ARE DISMISSED FOR THE WRONG REASONS
AND THEIR IMPACT IS OVERLOOKED.
Im...
Integrated Model of Behavioral Prediction: Fishbein, 2000, 2007; Fishbein & Yzer, 2003
Health Belief Model: Rosenstock, 19...
POTENTIAL SUITORS
Anti Tanning Neutral Pro Tanning
For each tanning belief, we created 3 personality types that would cove...
CONVERSATIONS
IN GAME TANNING OFFERS
Tanning Salon Dermatologist
THE EPILOGUE
The final piece of the game has an anti-
tanning health message implicitly
presented.
It gets shown when the ...
STUDY RESULTS
The game was the most effective intervention at reducing intent to tan with women
and people who haven’t ind...
STUDY RESULTS
There was a boomerang effect!
Men and people who have indoor tanned previously enjoyed the game and are more...
STUDY RESULTS
We assumed increasing engagement would have a positive effect but the increase in
variables can decrease the...
STUDY RESULTS
In traditional interventions, increased transportation leads to better outcomes. In the
game condition, the ...
It would be irresponsible to publish the game knowing what we found during the first study
When we figure out how to eliminate the boomerang effect, the game will be a solid health intervention tool.
THE ROAD AHEAD
• Limited character versions that focus on one category (tanning vs. anti-tanning)
• Deep dive into specifi...
DREAMY – NON TANNING EDITION
The idea of interacting with a series of characters with the pretext of getting a date is
a p...
THANK YOU!
Clay Ewing (@claytical)
c.ewing@miami.edu
http://www.claytical.com
Interactive Media Program
http://interactive...
Hypothesis Tested: Designing Games with Theoretical Frameworks
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Hypothesis Tested: Designing Games with Theoretical Frameworks

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With games being designed that seek changes in intention, attitudes and behavior it’s more important than ever that we evaluate the games we design and understand their true effects. A team from the University of Miami designed a game-based intervention with the goal to reduce intentions to indoor tan. We found that games can be a powerful persuasion tactic but not always in the ways one would expect! Join us as we share our design process and findings, which indicate the importance of knowing your target audience and how there isn’t a one-size fits all approach to designing such interventions.

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Hypothesis Tested: Designing Games with Theoretical Frameworks

  1. 1. HYPOTHESIS TESTED Designing Social Impact Games with Theoretical Frameworks Clay Ewing @claytical c.ewing@miami.edu Associate Professor University of Miami
  2. 2. HUSTLING HEALTH CARE (2010) A tabletop game that simulated health insurance markets before the Affordable Care Act.
  3. 3. TANZANIAN SOCIAL ACTION FUND (2012) Working with the Tanzanian government and the World Bank, we developed a facilitated tabletop game intended to teach rural farmers about a new conditional cash transfer program.
  4. 4. “ ” IF YOU CAN MEASURE IT, THEN IT’S NOT THE CHANGE I WANT TO SEE… IF YOUR GAME OR TECHNOLOGY REALLY ‘WORKS’ IT FREAKS ME OUT Paolo Pedercini, Making Games in a F****d Up World , Games for Change 2014 Pedercini, P. (2014) Making Games in a F****d Up World, Games for Change 2014. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MflkwKt7tl4
  5. 5. VANITY A tabletop game where players take on the role of aspiring actors competing at auditions. The game aims to teach teenagers about the dangers of using tanning beds. Preliminary results are inconclusive but promising. The game may be an acceptable preventative tool to keep people from engaging in tanning behavior that could lead to skin cancer. Tran, Carcioppolo, Colantonio, Ewing, Lang, Beyea, Beecker. “The Empty Comfort of Vanity: Assessing the Effectiveness of an Interactive Game to Increase Skin Cancer Prevention Outcomes” (GLS10)
  6. 6. UNSAVORY (2015) You play as a minimum wage worker in a fast casual restaurant preparing burritos. Your goal is to survive a month on the job. Eventually, your work is interrupted by an oncoming sneeze. If you sneeze, your boss knows you’re sick and sends you home. If you miss too much work, you’re fired and won’t be able to pay your bills.
  7. 7. “ ” AFTER I ANALYZED THE RESULTS FROM THIS STUDY, I WAS DISMAYED TO FIND THAT PLAYING THE GAME HAD NO EFFECT ON POSITIVE FEELINGS TOWARD THE POOR. IN FACT, THE GAME HAD A NEGATIVE EFFECT ON ATTITUDES AMONG CERTAIN PARTICIPANTS—INCLUDING SOME PEOPLE WHO WERE SYMPATHETIC TO THE POOR TO BEGIN WITH. Gina Roussos, When Good Intentions Go Awry, Psychology Today Roussos, G., & Dovidio, J. F. (2016). Playing below the poverty line: Investigating an online game as a way to reduce prejudice toward the poor. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 10(2). Roussos, G. (2015). When Good Intentions Go Awry: The Counterintuitive effects of a prosocial online game. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/sound-science-sound- policy/201512/when-good-intentions-go-awry
  8. 8. “ ” WHEN IMPACT IS DEFINED TOO NARROWLY, SOME GAMES ARE DISMISSED FOR THE WRONG REASONS AND THEIR IMPACT IS OVERLOOKED. Impact with Games: A Fragmented Field Stokes, B., O’Shea, G., Walden, N., Nasso, F., Mariutto, G., Hill, A., & Burak, A. (2016). IMPACT WITH GAMES: A FRAGMENTED FIELD. Pittsburgh, PA: ETC Press. Retrieved from http://gameimpact.net/reports/fragmented- field/
  9. 9. Integrated Model of Behavioral Prediction: Fishbein, 2000, 2007; Fishbein & Yzer, 2003 Health Belief Model: Rosenstock, 1974; Rosenstock, Strecher & Becker, 1988
  10. 10. POTENTIAL SUITORS Anti Tanning Neutral Pro Tanning For each tanning belief, we created 3 personality types that would cover different combinations of tanning beliefs and life values.
  11. 11. CONVERSATIONS
  12. 12. IN GAME TANNING OFFERS Tanning Salon Dermatologist
  13. 13. THE EPILOGUE The final piece of the game has an anti- tanning health message implicitly presented. It gets shown when the character went to a tanning salon or they chose to date someone with a history of using tanning beds.
  14. 14. STUDY RESULTS The game was the most effective intervention at reducing intent to tan with women and people who haven’t indoor tanned previously. However, they did not enjoy the game as much as the other interventions. Kim, S., Zhou, C., Carcioppolo, N., Ewing, C. (2018). Rethinking the Role of Engagement and Enjoyment: The Effect of a Digital Health Game on Indoor Tanning Attitude and Intention. Kentucky Conference on Health Communication. Retrieved from https://comm.uky.edu/kchc/abstract/768.
  15. 15. STUDY RESULTS There was a boomerang effect! Men and people who have indoor tanned previously enjoyed the game and are more likely to tan after playing the game. Kim, S., Zhou, C., Carcioppolo, N., Ewing, C. (2018). Rethinking the Role of Engagement and Enjoyment: The Effect of a Digital Health Game on Indoor Tanning Attitude and Intention. Kentucky Conference on Health Communication. Retrieved from https://comm.uky.edu/kchc/abstract/768.
  16. 16. STUDY RESULTS We assumed increasing engagement would have a positive effect but the increase in variables can decrease the persuasive effects of the game. Kim, S., Zhou, C., Carcioppolo, N., Ewing, C. (2018). Rethinking the Role of Engagement and Enjoyment: The Effect of a Digital Health Game on Indoor Tanning Attitude and Intention. Kentucky Conference on Health Communication. Retrieved from https://comm.uky.edu/kchc/abstract/768.
  17. 17. STUDY RESULTS In traditional interventions, increased transportation leads to better outcomes. In the game condition, the players were transported but it had a negative effect. We can’t make a conclusion on this yet. Kim, S., Zhou, C., Carcioppolo, N., Ewing, C. (2018). Rethinking the Role of Engagement and Enjoyment: The Effect of a Digital Health Game on Indoor Tanning Attitude and Intention. Kentucky Conference on Health Communication. Retrieved from https://comm.uky.edu/kchc/abstract/768.
  18. 18. It would be irresponsible to publish the game knowing what we found during the first study
  19. 19. When we figure out how to eliminate the boomerang effect, the game will be a solid health intervention tool.
  20. 20. THE ROAD AHEAD • Limited character versions that focus on one category (tanning vs. anti-tanning) • Deep dive into specific character messages and player behaviors
  21. 21. DREAMY – NON TANNING EDITION The idea of interacting with a series of characters with the pretext of getting a date is a pathway for other public health interventions.
  22. 22. THANK YOU! Clay Ewing (@claytical) c.ewing@miami.edu http://www.claytical.com Interactive Media Program http://interactive.miami.edu NERDLab http://nerdlab.miami

With games being designed that seek changes in intention, attitudes and behavior it’s more important than ever that we evaluate the games we design and understand their true effects. A team from the University of Miami designed a game-based intervention with the goal to reduce intentions to indoor tan. We found that games can be a powerful persuasion tactic but not always in the ways one would expect! Join us as we share our design process and findings, which indicate the importance of knowing your target audience and how there isn’t a one-size fits all approach to designing such interventions.

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