Thesis Info

*removed* 00878
Thesis Title
Metaphors We Play With: A Psychological Investigation of Transfer From Game Systems
Barrett R. Anderson
2nd Author
3rd Author
Number of Pages
UC Santa Cruz
Thesis Supervisor
Noah Wardrip-Fruin
Supervisor e-mail
nwardrip AT
Other Supervisor(s)
Elizabeth Swensen
Language(s) of Thesis
Department / Discipline
Computational Media
Languages Familiar to Author
URL where full thesis can be found
analogical transfer, experiment, persuasive games, procedural rhetoric, psychology, rhetoric
Abstract: 200-500 words
Games are capable of conveying meaning via their mechanics. This is an information channel unique to games, which has been called procedural rhetoric (Bogost, 2007). What a player takes from a game depends on their personal reading (Summerville et al., 2018; Treanor, Schweizer, Bogost, & Mateas, 2011), but game creators and scholars can benefit from understanding a typical player’s experience and interpretation. Learning from analogy involves transferring insights from one system to another (Day & Goldstone, 2011; Hofstadter, 2001). This kind of transfer can be encouraged by metaphorical language, as demonstrated in an experiment examining the influence of the language used to describe crime in a newspaper article on reader’s crime-related policy preferences (Thibodeau & Boroditsky, 2011). The contribution of the current study is a psychological experiment investigating the influence of a novel rhetorical game, replacing these differences in metaphorical language in the preceding experiment with differences in game mechanics. Additional interpretive context was gained from the inclusion of other rhetorical games. We found that players perceive rhetorical games to be making an argument, but player interpretations of these arguments and the games’ influence on their attitudes were not necessarily consistent with the games’ intended message.