css.phpAll posts by Robert O. Duncan

I'm an Assistant Professor of Behavioral Sciences at City University of New York, with joint appointments in Neuroscience and Cognitive Neuroscience. I also have an appointment as a Visiting Scholar at New York University. My research interests include cognitive neuroscience, functional magnetic resonance imaging, glaucoma, neurodegenerative disorders, attention, learning, memory, educational technology, pedagogy, and developing games for education.

New article published in JITP

We are happy to announce a new publication in issue number fifteen of The Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy. The editors kindly scribed the following pithy summary:

The need for critically examining how the medium influences the agenda behind digital material is also examined in another piece in this issue. In “Confidence and Critical Thinking Are Differentially Affected by Content Intelligibility and Source Reliability: Implications for Game-Based Learning in Higher Education,” Robert O. Duncan of York College and The Graduate Center, CUNY, presents a study on how the intelligibility of information and reliability of sources influence performance and confidence among participants in a critical-thinking game. The results indicate the more environmentally induced difficulty in reading text, the more critically students engaged with it. The type of information source, however, appeared to be less influential on students’ performance, with little variation between conditions in which participants were or were not told which information was derived from a reliable source. These findings point toward a few practical implications for instruction and game design around information literacy, and help to increase awareness regarding opportunities to teach students how to evaluate the reliability of sources, before critically evaluating and using the information they provide.

New Site Dedicated to Citizen Science Games

Check out Claire Baert’s cool web site dedicated to citizen science games! A description of citizen science from her site follows:

What is Citizen Science?

Citizen science is where volunteers, in collaboration with scientists, get involved in science. This can be collecting and analyzing data, interpreting results, classifying and transcribing information, conducting experiments or by playing citizen science games.

Citizen scientists can help experts who are overwhelmed by big data and new technology to gather even more data, solve complex problems and make discoveries using new technologies! At the same time, the participants have fun, learn about science, develop skills, and gain a greater understanding of the scientific process.

Whether you are passionate about birds, the environment, quantum physics or bio-hacking, you can always find a citizen science project that matches your interests. Citizen Science Games is dedicated to feature… well, citizen science games! citizensciencegames.com is both a news website and a rich collection of citizen science games, articles from scientific magazines and publications from scientific journals.


Board Game Design and the Psychology of Loss Aversion

Geoff Engelstein from NYU and Mind Bullet Games presented a talk at the 2017 Game Developers Conference entitled “Board Game Design and the Psychology of Loss Aversion,” where he summarizes some of the major psychological principles related to choice and how they are implemented in games. The summary of the talk follows, and you can view the talk on the GDC Vault by following the link below:

Loss aversion is a core effect in human psychology. Simply stated, losses make people feel worse than gains make them feel better. In other words, the negative emotions from losing $100 are stronger than the positive emotions from gaining $100; about twice as strong according to a variety of experiments. The fundamental aspect of loss aversion to human psychology is very deep, and touches a wide variety of phenomenon, most of which are directly relevant to game design. This talk from veteran tabletop game designer Geoff Engelstein (‘Space Cadets’) examines board games and other relevant game-like experiences to explore framing, regret, competence, and other effects, and their relation to players’ relationship with the game experience.

Source: GDC Vault – Board Game Design Day: Board Game Design and the Psychology of Loss Aversion