Friday, November 18, 2011

"Serious" Games, Decision-Making, and the US Government

$10.5 Million isn't a whole lot of money for game development.

Michael Cooney reporting Raytheon gets $10.5M to develop “serious games”

These aren't your basic video gaming systems here.  The US government gave Raytheon BBN Technologies a $10.5 million today to develop what it called "serious games" that result in better decision-making by teaching players to recognize and diminish the effects of their own biases when analyzing information used to make decisions.

Under a contract from the government's cutting edge research group, the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), Raytheon BBN will develop game-based training programs featuring an international detective theme developed by game designers, cognitive psychologists and experts in intelligence analysis and in measuring game-player engagement.

The gaming system will focus on certain types of bias that frequently hurt effective decision-making:

  • Confirmation bias -- the tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms preconceptions.
  • Blind spot bias -- being less aware of one's own cognitive biases than those of others.
  • Fundamental attribution error -- over-emphasizing personality-based or character-based effects on behavior.
  • Anchoring bias -- relying too heavily on one trait or one piece of information.
  • Representative bias -- judging the likelihood of a hypothesis by its resemblance to immediately available data.
  • Projection bias -- assuming others share one's current feelings, values or thinking

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