Conference PaperPDF Available

The motivation of uncertainty (Keynote)



Watch the recording on YouTube: - also the panel discussion:
Ali H. Al-Hoorie
Royal Commission for Jubail & Yanbu
Saudi Arabia
First thing to do in the morning
Students in class
Students outside of class
First thing to do in the morning
Students in class
Students outside of class
Health problems
Cognitive problems
Social problems
Metal problems: aggression, violence, depression
Calls for banning PUBG mobile game in Saudi Arabia
3 August 2019
El Paso, Texas
22 dead, 24 injured
Patrick Wood Crusius, age 21
4 August 2019 (13 hours later)
Dayton, Ohio
10 dead & 27 injured
Connor Stephen Betts, age 24
“we must stop the glorification of
violence in our society. This includes the
gruesome and grisly video games that
are now commonplace. It is too easy
today for troubled youth to surround
themselves with a culture that
celebrates violence. We must stop or
substantially reduce this, and it has to
begin immediately. Cultural change is
hard, but each of us can choose to
build a culture that celebrates the
inherent worth and dignity of every
human life. That’s what we have to do.”
President Donald Trump
“The idea that these video games
that dehumanize individuals to have
a game of shooting individuals. I’ve
always felt that it’s a problem for
future generations and others. We’ve
watched studies show what it does to
individuals, and you look at these
photos of how it took place, you can
see the actions within video games
and others.”
House Minority Leader
Kevin McCarthy
Interview on Fox News
August 2019
“What’s changed in this
country? We’ve always had
guns. We’ve always had evil.
But what’s changed where we
see this rash of shootings? And I
see a video game industry that
teaches young people to kill.”
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick
Interview on Fox News
August 2019
“The Lankford ‘study’ is nothing more
than junk science disguised as
research, and never should have been
published in a responsible scholarly
journal,” Florida State University
criminology professor Gary Kleck told
Generalized aggression model:
violent video games increase aggressive tendencies (Bandura, 1973)
The catharsis model:
video games act as a release for aggression and frustration, subsequently
reducing actual expressions of aggression (Ferguson et al., 2014)
The incapacitation model:
video games draws adolescents indoors, subsequently decreasing
engagement in violent outdoor activities (Becker, 1965)
Negative association between country-level video game store growth & growth in
crime rates (Ward, 2011)
Popular violent movies caused crime to decrease in the evening and weekend
hours of a movie’s release lasting into the following week (Dahl & DellaVigna, 2009)
Release of popular violent video games are associated with a reduction of crime
rate (Cunningham et al., 2016)
“Rhetoric versus data”: Associations among violent crime (homicides and
aggravated assaults), video game sales, Internet keyword searches for violent
video game guides, and the release dates of popular violent video games (both
annually and monthly): no evidence for a positive relationship with real-world
violence. The results were suggestive of a decrease in violent crime in response to
violent video games (Markey et al., 2015)
Kühn et al. (2019): The effects of long-term violent video gameplay before and after 2 months of
gameplay (Grand Theft Auto V, The Sims 3, or no game) using a large battery of tests:
behavioral measures of aggression
sexist attitudes
empathy and interpersonal competencies
impulsivity-related constructs
(such as sensation seeking, boredom proneness, risk taking, delay discounting)
mental health (depressivity, anxiety)
executive control functions
No significant changes were observed.
No effects in a follow-up 2 months after the intervention period had ended.
“strong evidence against the frequently debated negative effects of playing violent video games”
Eichenbaum et al. (2014) “Play that can do serious good”:
better than watching TV
action video games promote improvements in perceptual, attentional,
and cognitive abilities
promote job-related skills
teach children complex and difficult tasks and abilities
weapons in the fight against declining mental capacities in old age
What about language learning?
To further complicate the scene, there has been an explosive growth in
the use of technology in everyday life recently….
interactive 3D gaming such as Counter-Strike, Call of Duty, World of
Witchcraft, The Sims, Second Life, and Unity
What about language learning?
To further complicate the scene, there has been an explosive growth in
the use of technology in everyday life recently….
interactive 3D gaming such as Counter-Strike, Call of Duty, World of
Witchcraft, The Sims, Second Life, and Unity
What about language learning?
To further complicate the scene, there has been an explosive growth in
the use of technology in everyday life recently….
interactive 3D gaming such as Counter-Strike, Call of Duty, World of
Witchcraft, The Sims, Second Life, and Unity
Digital Games
Most young people as well as many
adults, play digital games and these
offer possibilities both for entertainment
as well as language learning.
What about language learning?
Adaptivity, like a placement test
Spaced repetition
Uncertainty, anticipation
Dopamine: a neurotransmitter
playing a major role in the
motivational component of
reward-motivated behavior.
The motivation of MAYBE
The motivation of NEAR-MISS
But how to apply it in real life?
83 experimental participants
102 control participants
Post-test (1 month)
Delayed post-test (1 month)
Words & Monsters, developed by a Japanese company
Placement test, paced repetition, uncertainty
p = .896 p = .001 p = .039
Bandura, A. 1973. Aggression: A social learning analysis. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Becker, Gary S. 1965. A theory of the allocation of time. Economic Journal 75(299):493517.
Bediou, B., Adams, D. M., Mayer, R. E., Tipton, E., Green, C. S., & Bavelier, D. (2018). Meta-analysis of action video game impact on perceptual, attentional, and cognitive
skills. Psychological bulletin, 144(1), 77-110.
Calvert, S. L., Appelbaum, M., Dodge, K. A., Graham, S., Nagayama Hall, G. C., Hamby, S., ... & Hedges, L. V. (2017). The American Psychological Association Task Force
assessment of violent video games: Science in the service of public interest. American Psychologist,72(2), 126-143.
Clark, D. B., Tanner-Smith, E. E., & Killingsworth, S. S. (2016). Digital games, design, and learning: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Review of educational research,
86(1), 79-122.
Cunningham, S., Engelstätter, B., & Ward, M. R. (2016). Violent video games and violent crime. Southern Economic Journal, 82(4), 1247-1265.
Dahl, G., & DellaVigna, S. (2009). Does movie violence increase violent crime?. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 124(2), 677-734.
Ferguson, Christopher J., Cheryl K. Olson, Lawrence A. Kutner, & Dorothy E. Warner (2014). Violent video games, catharsis seeking, bullying, and delinquency: A multivariate
analysis of effects. Crime & Delinquency 60(6):939968.
Kühn, S., Kugler, D. T., Schmalen, K., Weichenberger, M., Witt, C., & Gallinat, J. (2019). Does playing violent video games cause aggression? A longitudinal intervention
study. Molecular psychiatry, 24(8), 1220-1234.
Lamb, R. L., Annetta, L., Firestone, J., & Etopio, E. (2018). A meta-analysis with examination of moderators of student cognition, affect, and learning outcomes while using
serious educational games, serious games, and simulations. Computers in Human Behavior, 80, 158-167.
Markey, P. M., Markey, C. N., & French, J. E. (2015). Violent video games and real-world violence: Rhetoric versus data. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 4(4), 277-295.
Sapolsky, R. M. (2017). Behave: The biology of humans at our best and worst. Penguin.
Taylor, L. M., Kerse, N., Frakking, T., & Maddison, R. (2018). Active video games for improving physical performance measures in older people: a meta-analysis. Journal of
geriatric physical therapy (2001), 41(2), 108-123.
Ward, M. R. (2011). Video games and crime. Contemporary Economic Policy, 29(2), 261-273.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Full-text available
It is a widespread concern that violent video games promote aggression, reduce pro-social behaviour, increase impulsivity and interfere with cognition as well as mood in its players. Previous experimental studies have focussed on short-term effects of violent video gameplay on aggression, yet there are reasons to believe that these effects are mostly the result of priming. In contrast, the present study is the first to investigate the effects of long-term violent video gameplay using a large battery of tests spanning questionnaires, behavioural measures of aggression, sexist attitudes, empathy and interpersonal competencies, impulsivity-related constructs (such as sensation seeking, boredom proneness, risk taking, delay discounting), mental health (depressivity, anxiety) as well as executive control functions, before and after 2 months of gameplay. Our participants played the violent video game Grand Theft Auto V, the non-violent video game The Sims 3 or no game at all for 2 months on a daily basis. No significant changes were observed, neither when comparing the group playing a violent video game to a group playing a non-violent game, nor to a passive control group. Also, no effects were observed between baseline and posttest directly after the intervention, nor between baseline and a follow-up assessment 2 months after the intervention period had ended. The present results thus provide strong evidence against the frequently debated negative effects of playing violent video games in adults and will therefore help to communicate a more realistic scientific perspective on the effects of violent video gaming.
Full-text available
Video games are an increasingly popular leisure activity. As many best-selling games contain hyper-realistic violence, many researchers and policymakers have hypothesized that violent games cause violent behaviors. Laboratory experiments have found evidence suggesting that violent video games increase aggression. Before drawing policy conclusions about the effect of violent games on actual behavior, these experimental studies should be subjected to tests of external validity. Our study uses a quasi-experimental methodology to identify the short-run and medium-run effects of violent game sales on violent crime using time variation in retail unit sales data of the top 30 selling video games and violent criminal offenses from both the Uniform Crime Report and the National Incident-Based Reporting System from 2005 to 2011. We find no evidence of an increase in crime associated with video games and perhaps a decrease.
Full-text available
Background and purpose: Participation in regular physical activity is associated with better physical function in older people (>65 years); however, older people are the least active of all age groups. Exercise-based active video games (AVGs) offer an alternative to traditional exercise programs aimed at maintaining or enhancing physical performance measures in older people. This review systematically evaluated whether AVGs could improve measures of physical performance in older people. Secondary measures of safety, game appeal, and usability were also considered. Methods: Electronic databases were searched for randomized controlled trials published up to April 2015. Included were trials with 2 or more arms that evaluated the effect of AVGs on outcome measures of physical performance in older people. Results: Eighteen randomized controlled trials (n = 765) were included. Most trials limited inclusion to healthy community-dwelling older people. With the exception of 1 trial, all AVG programs were supervised. Using meta-analyses, AVGs were found to be more effective than conventional exercise (mean difference [MD], 4.33; 95% confidence intervals [CIs], 2.93-5.73) or no intervention (MD, 0.73; 95% CI, 0.17-1.29) for improving Berg Balance scores in community-dwelling older people. Active video games were also more effective than control for improving 30-second sit-to-stand scores (MD, 3.99; 95% CI, 1.92-6.05). No significant differences in Timed Up and Go scores were found when AVGs were compared with no intervention or with conventional exercise. Conclusions: Active video games can improve measures of mobility and balance in older people when used either on their own or as part of an exercise program. It is not yet clear whether AVGs are equally suitable for older people with significant cognitive impairments or balance or mobility limitations. Given the positive findings to date, consideration could be given to further development of age-appropriate AVGs for use by older people with balance or mobility limitations.This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially.
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Laboratory and correlational studies often find a link between violent video games and minor or benign forms of aggressive behaviors (e.g., exposing an opponent to an unpleasant noise). Based on these studies, the media, lawmakers, and researchers often imply a link between violent video games and violent criminal behavior. Using a similar methodology employed by researchers to examine predictors of severe violent behaviors (Anderson et al., Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 73: 1213–1223, 1997), 4 time-series analyses investigated the associations among violent crime (homicides and aggravated assaults), video game sales, Internet keyword searches for violent video game guides, and the release dates of popular violent video games (both annually and monthly). Contrary to the claims that violent video games are linked to aggressive assaults and homicides, no evidence was found to suggest that this medium was positively related to real-world violence in the United States. Unexpectedly, many of the results were suggestive of a decrease in violent crime in response to violent video games. Possible explanations for these unforeseen findings are discussed and researchers are cautioned about generalizing the results from laboratory and correlational studies to severe forms of violent behavior. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
The ubiquity of video games in today’s society has led to significant interest in their impact on the brain and behavior and in the possibility of harnessing games for good. The present meta-analyses focus on one specific game genre that has been of particular interest to the scientific community—action video games, and cover the period 2000–2015. To assess the long-lasting impact of action video game play on various domains of cognition, we first consider cross-sectional studies that inform us about the cognitive profile of habitual action video game players, and document a positive average effect of about half a standard deviation (g = 0.55). We then turn to long-term intervention studies that inform us about the possibility of causally inducing changes in cognition via playing action video games, and show a smaller average effect of a third of a standard deviation (g = 0.34). Because only intervention studies using other commercially available video game genres as controls were included, this latter result highlights the fact that not all games equally impact cognition. Moderator analyses indicated that action video game play robustly enhances the domains of top-down attention and spatial cognition, with encouraging signs for perception. Publication bias remains, however, a threat with average effects in the published literature estimated to be 30% larger than in the full literature. As a result, we encourage the field to conduct larger cohort studies and more intervention studies, especially those with more than 30 hours of training.
Educational games and simulations provide teachers with powerful tools for teaching students in the sciences. Within the broad category of educational gaming, there are several types of games to include Serious Educational Games (SEG), Educational Simulations (ES), and Serious Games (SG). The purpose of this meta-analysis is to characterize and compare outcomes related to serious educational games, serious games, and educational simulations as they are presented in the educational literature. Specifically the authors intend to fill gaps left by previous studies, include major finding, and assess the current state of the field related to the use of these innovative technologies. The results of this study are in line with previous studies suggesting higher cognitive gains and increases in positive affective toward learning from subjects using SEGs, SGs, and ES. Effects were calculated from 46 empirical experimental studies. The examined studies suggest that ES, SGs, and SEGs do not differ in a statistically significant way when compared to traditional instruction but do differ from each other. More to this point, effect size outcomes are suggestive of a cumulative medium effect for cognition (d=.67) and affect (d=.51) with a small effect for behavior (d=.04).
A task force of experts was convened by the American Psychological Association (APA) to update the knowledge and policy about the impact of violent video game use on potential adverse outcomes. This APA Task Force on Media Violence examined the existing literature, including the meta-analyses in the field, since the last APA report on media violence in 2005. Because the most recent meta-analyses were published in 2010 and reflected work through 2009, the task force conducted a search of the published studies from 2009–2013. These recently published articles were scored and assessed by a systematic evidentiary review, followed by a meta-analysis of the high utility studies, as documented in the evidentiary review. Consistent with the literature that we reviewed, we found that violent video game exposure was associated with: an increased composite aggression score; increased aggressive behavior; increased aggressive cognitions; increased aggressive affect, increased desensitization, and decreased empathy; and increased physiological arousal. The size of the effects was similar to that in prior meta-analyses, suggesting a stable result. Our task force concluded that violent video game use is a risk factor for adverse outcomes, but found insufficient studies to examine any potential link between violent video game use and delinquency or criminal behavior. Our technical report is the basis of this article.
In this meta-analysis, we systematically reviewed research on digital games and learning for K-16 students. We synthesized comparisons of game versus nongame conditions (i.e., media comparisons) and comparisons of augmented games versus standard game designs (i.e., value-added comparisons). We used random-effects meta-regression models with robust variance estimates to summarize overall effects and explore potential moderator effects. Results from media comparisons indicated that digital games significantly enhanced student learning relative to nongame conditions ( = 0.33, 95% confidence interval [0.19, 0.48], k = 57, n = 209). Results from value-added comparisons indicated significant learning benefits associated with augmented game designs ( = 0.34, 95% confidence interval [0.17, 0.51], k = 20, n = 40). Moderator analyses demonstrated that effects varied across various game mechanics characteristics, visual and narrative characteristics, and research quality characteristics. Taken together, the results highlight the affordances of games for learning as well as the key role of design beyond medium.
The effects of violent video game exposure on youth aggression remain an issue of significant controversy and debate. It is not yet clear whether violent video games uniquely contribute to long-term youth aggression or whether any relationship is better explained through third variables such as aggressive personality or family environment. The current study examines the influence of violent video game exposure on delinquency and bullying behavior in 1,254 seventh- and eighth-grade students. Variables such as parental involvement, trait aggression, stress, participation in extracurricular activities, and family/peer support were also considered. Results indicated that delinquent and bullying behavior were predicted by the child's trait aggression and stress level. Violent video game exposure was not found to be predictive of delinquency or bullying, nor was level of parental involvement. These results question the commonly held belief that violent video games are related to youth delinquency and bullying.
Presents a unified conceptual system for understanding both individual and collective violence. The learning of aggression, the processes which trigger violence, and the rewards and punishments of aggression are discussed. Guidelines for reducing societal levels of aggression are presented. (42 p. ref.) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)