The Use of Theory in Designing a Serious Game for the Reduction of Cognitive Biases

Meg Barton, Carl Symborski, Mary Quinn, Carey K Morewedge, Karim S Kassam, James H Korris


In the current study, a serious game was developed to address a training challenge: teaching players to recognize and mitigate their cognitive biases. Cognitive biases, which are human tendencies to commit systematic errors in thinking that lead to irrational judgments, are deeply ingrained and difficult to alter. This paper describes the theory-based approach we employed to create a game for the mitigation of cognitive biases – a challenging and abstract training topic. A cognitive bias framework that relates the target cognitive biases, their causes, and effective bias mitigation techniques was developed and incorporated into the game design. The resultant serious game, titled Missing: The Final Secret (hereinafter: Missing), pairs the most promising mitigation strategies with the primary causes of the targeted cognitive biases and incorporates them into game-play. Further, we present preliminary results from a game efficacy evaluation suggesting that Missing is an effective tool for training cognitive bias recognition and mitigation.

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Published by the Digital Games Research Association.