Play to Change
03 May

Play to Change

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Believe it or not, [hu]man has always been a biased animal [1]

Have you ever wondered why it’s so difficult to avoid biases?

For starters, cognitive biases tend to crop up in our daily interactions mainly because people are often not aware of their existence [2]. I mean consider this, much of our behavior is largely constituted by our biases. Behavioral change would then require becoming aware of our own implicit biases – bias detection on that account can help us affect behavioral change.

Our implicit biases can be detected through interactive game plays wherein all the elements of being involved in the act of play are replicated. It puts people in an environment where learning is ongoing, continuous and of course fun.

And it’s even more interesting when we’re engaged in play digitally!

The idea that digital games possess scope beyond entertainment alone – such as in areas of training, education, affecting behavioral change and promoting social change – is well-accepted. Games designed for purposes beyond pure entertainment are known as serious games [3]. Such games are generally designed to educate the player about a certain topic or a concrete skill set. Increasingly in the organizational sphere the use of digital game-based learning is being witnessed.

What do Biases have to do with Games?

Well for starters, all of us possess certain common natural desires for socialization, competition, reward, and self-expression, with varying degrees. Treading on the path of socialization into this society, things we hear and see shape the imaginary lenses we use to look through and process this world. The times we are indulged in any kind of play, we actively exercise these lenses and constantly adjust its power based on observed actions and reactions.

It provides purpose, reward, mastery and the possibility to create social bonds- each of which have a major role to play in our behavioral disposition. The outcome of this experiential learning reflects on our behavior, making the environment conducive for affecting behavioral change of sorts.

Digital games, as an interactive medium, can especially be effective in changing individual’s cognitive processes and decision-making [4]. One of the benefits of using digital games for any kind of learning is that games can provide feedback for learners to assess their situation and correct their mistakes.

Organizations can use digital games to affect behavioral change

Digital games have great potential as a training tool for mitigating cognitive bias in decision-making. From a cognitive learning perspective, the interactive nature of digital games requires learners to actively process the information which promotes problem-solving transfer to real decision-making scenarios.

Organizations can incorporate these elements of game play in to their learning and development programs to bring about alignment in behavior within different teams. Often the biases observed are ones that could prove to be beneficial to an organization and it is imperative to have a balance in the spectrum of behaviors within a team. Therefore, engaging the team in an interactive game play could further help maintaining this behavioral balance.

See it to believe it

Organizations can further leverage this into shaping their team dynamics in a way that aligns with organizational goals. We ( develop games that are interactive and specially designed to detect various implicit biases.

Watch our product video below which elicits exactly how this process is carried out on our platform.


[2] Ehrlinger, J., Gilovich, T., & Ross, L. (2005). Peering into the bias blind spot: People’s assessments of bias in themselves and others. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 31, 680-692. doi:10.1177/0146167204271570
Kahneman, D., & Klein, G. (2009). Conditions for Intuitive Expertise: A Failure to Disagree. American Psychologist, 64, 515-526.

[3] Stapleton, Andrew. (2004). Serious games: Serious opportunities. Australian Game Developers Conference.

[4] Lee, Y. H., Dunbar, N. E., Miller, C. H., Lane, B. L., Jensen, M. L., Bessarabova, E., … Wilson, S. N. (2016). Training Anchoring and Representativeness Bias Mitigation Through a Digital Game. Simulation and Gaming47(6), 751-779. DOI: 10.1177/1046878116662955


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About the Author

Rachika Komal
Researcher with Collective Mind of N with a Triple Majors in Psychology, Sociology and Economics from Christ University.

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