TitlePerspective taking and decision-making in educational game play: A mixed-methods study
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsHilliard, LJ, Buckingham, MH, Geldhof, GJ, Gansert, P, Stack, C, Gelgoot, ES, Bers, MU, Lerner, RM
JournalApplied Developmental Science

Video games have the potential to be contexts for moral learning. We investigated whether Quandary, a video game designed to promote ethical thinking and moral considerations for decision-making, would help promote positive skills such as perspective taking and empathy in adolescents. We examined the effect of playing Quandary on 131 middle school students on self-reported measures of moral thinking via mixed-method randomized control trials. In addition, we conducted qualitative analyses of one-on-one participant interviews and short-answer responses to capture experiences and reflections from playing Quandary, as well as the depth in which students across conditions responded to the interview questions. We found that short-term quantitative indicators did not show change across conditions; however, qualitative analyses revealed thematic responses that are consistent with the core components of the Quandary game, and that students in the Quandary condition showed a greater depth of response to interview questions. This work is a first step in exploring the potential for virtual game play on children’s social, emotional, and cognitive development.