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Thread: smart videogames

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    smart videogames

    Honestly, most readers should skip my first post, which is more like a mission statement. The second post will have more specifics.

    My Humanitarian Concerns
    Short and sweet: Officially psychotic, but IMO social anxiety. 18 months of meditating and philosophizing. The plan was to simplify thought to make room for meditation. Digging ever deeper, I ascertained issues for humanity as a whole. Knowledge and communication permeate all practical and ethical matters, but the specifics are elusive. Trying to adequately catalogue our various cognitions is like taking a shovel to a canyon. Many of us can describe our language's grammar, but so few can actually describe the cognitions behind language, the universal grammar. However, our lack of self-understanding is a blindspot to be exploited. If I have your interest, I already attempted to discuss this on LinuxQuestions. Cognition + AI = Manipulation and Censorship

    Videogames
    Videogames are one vehicle for ensuring that everyone has some understanding of human nature. This includes the problem-solving aspect, but I also believe the story-lines are passively absorbed. Unfortunately, some games have simpler storylines, or else online walkthroughs. Some create-your-own-world games, like an exaggerated anti-Freudian reaction, don't attempt to convey anything. I think designers who take heed might attract non-gamers like myself. In fact, Elder Scrolls: Morrowind (2002), which I played in 2008-9, has inspired this post. I don't really play.
    What we humans must understand includes sensation and perception, short-term and long-term memory, imaginative "representation" and investigative "attention", communication, social perception and self-consciousness, social influence, blame, norms, culture, basic "drives" and ideological "goals". It is a lot, but specialists stand to profit: expensive lawyers, persuasive advertisers and reporters, and religious or political frundraisers. Ordinary people should have some level of psychological immunization. For my part, I studied psych101, social psychology, various bio courses, and countless psychiatric publications. I am prepared to discuss how videogames can stimulate cognitive strategies, cognitive awareness, and social awareness. I hope it catches on.

    So I'm applying psychology to videogames. That was unexpected. In thought...
    Last edited by haplorrhine; 1 Week Ago at 12:35 AM.

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    Re: smart videogames

    It truly depends on how far back you want to go. Games in general stimulate cognitive strategies. Chess allows one to put archetype vs. archetype, as well as positioning, and depolyment. Card games, especially games like Spades, Hearts, or Pinochle, play team vs team, and teach each team player how to work with and/or against their teammate in order to ensure a victory.

    If you are talking about video games, there are many games out there that teach similar strategies based on environments, management, and control. Civilization (6 is the newest, I believe) is one of the most complex, learning, strategic, statistical, and entertaining games ever made. However, the story line is severely lacking, as it is just a "winner-take-all" idea.

    If you are looking for philosophical story ideas, I should point you to the Metal Gear Series on Play-Station. Metal Gear 2, has one of the most gut-punching philiosophical endings that you will ever get in a game.

    If you want psychology, give Bioshock a go. Story-wise, trust me... you won't see it coming.
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    Re: smart videogames

    mine sweeper - for some quick mental exercise because those mines aren't going to clean themselves.

    or texas hold 'em - then trying to figure out what is in AI's mind.

    messing around with AI NPC heads in Oblivion (or other TES), Far Cry or similar open world games.

    Civ6 one of the most complex? interesting. i haven't tried it but civ4 is quite rudimentary.

    try Europa Universalis or similar grand strategy games, see if they offer more or less. i would say they are more complex. to start out with there are various connections including blood lines to worry about, then there are different economics and social dynamic at play. and unlik civilization, EU has a lot of kingdomes, republics and small vassal countries that need to be conquered and maintained.

    another good one to explore is king of the dragon pass - every decision you make (even a small one) can potentially have consequences in the future. and you don't know what the consequence will be until you get to it.
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    Re: smart videogames

    Quote Originally Posted by Shibblet View Post
    It truly depends on how far back you want to go. Games in general stimulate cognitive strategies. Chess allows one to put archetype vs. archetype, as well as positioning, and depolyment. Card games, especially games like Spades, Hearts, or Pinochle, play team vs team, and teach each team player how to work with and/or against their teammate in order to ensure a victory.

    If you are talking about video games, there are many games out there that teach similar strategies based on environments, management, and control. Civilization (6 is the newest, I believe) is one of the most complex, learning, strategic, statistical, and entertaining games ever made. However, the story line is severely lacking, as it is just a "winner-take-all" idea.

    [...]
    Quote Originally Posted by mastablasta View Post
    [...]

    Civ6 one of the most complex? interesting. i haven't tried it but civ4 is quite rudimentary.

    try Europa Universalis or similar grand strategy games, see if they offer more or less. i would say they are more complex. to start out with there are various connections including blood lines to worry about, then there are different economics and social dynamic at play. and unlik civilization, EU has a lot of kingdomes, republics and small vassal countries that need to be conquered and maintained.

    another good one to explore is king of the dragon pass - every decision you make (even a small one) can potentially have consequences in the future. and you don't know what the consequence will be until you get to it.
    This is an interesting contrast. Games like chess or cards are "white boxes" that do not emulate the human reality, whereas Civilization, Earopa Universalis, and King of Dragon Pass seem to attempt this but invisibly as "black boxes." Here it might be useful to distinguish between strategizing and conditioned attention or conditioned responding. Strategies often involve mental representations of interacting phenomena, although the models might not easily translate into models of real-life scenarios. Attention and responding, on the other hand, rely on feedback. Specialized attention creates: expectations that guide our predictions or our searches, which includes where we look and what aspects of it are processed; and interpretations that colour how we process certain events and whether we think we should notice those events again in the future. Framed this way, "strategies" are consciously devised models that may or may not apply in other situations, whereas "specialized attention" is a conditioned pattern of interaction that can be trained properly or improperly.
    In real life, some professionals, like scientists, receive more feedback than others, and some professionals, like interrogators, might receive misleading feedback. Yet other professions might find corroboration by comparing sources rather than predicting the future, leaving them vulnerable to "post-hoc analyses." These societal games can be white boxes that are educational, but the white box is not necessarily authoritative and its proposed strategies might actually be ineffective in reality. A black box only stimulates the player to create his own representation of what he thinks is happening.
    One final note: although King of Dragon Pass might seem "abstract", we can create quite literal representational models of abstract phenomena. The measure of "abstractness" is only the amount of thought lying between biological sensation and cognitive perception or interpretation. A map is a very basic kind of representation, whereas language is much more derived (through etymological associations) and "abstract."

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    Re: smart videogames

    Quote Originally Posted by haplorrhine View Post
    This is an interesting contrast. Games like chess or cards are "white boxes" that do not emulate the human reality, whereas Civilization, Earopa Universalis, and King of Dragon Pass seem to attempt this but invisibly as "black boxes." Here it might be useful to distinguish between strategizing and conditioned attention or conditioned responding. Strategies often involve mental representations of interacting phenomena, although the models might not easily translate into models of real-life scenarios. Attention and responding, on the other hand, rely on feedback. Specialized attention creates: expectations that guide our predictions or our searches, which includes where we look and what aspects of it are processed; and interpretations that colour how we process certain events and whether we think we should notice those events again in the future. Framed this way, "strategies" are consciously devised models that may or may not apply in other situations, whereas "specialized attention" is a conditioned pattern of interaction that can be trained properly or improperly.
    In real life, some professionals, like scientists, receive more feedback than others, and some professionals, like interrogators, might receive misleading feedback. Yet other professions might find corroboration by comparing sources rather than predicting the future, leaving them vulnerable to "post-hoc analyses." These societal games can be white boxes that are educational, but the white box is not necessarily authoritative and its proposed strategies might actually be ineffective in reality. A black box only stimulates the player to create his own representation of what he thinks is happening.
    One final note: although King of Dragon Pass might seem "abstract", we can create quite literal representational models of abstract phenomena. The measure of "abstractness" is only the amount of thought lying between biological sensation and cognitive perception or interpretation. A map is a very basic kind of representation, whereas language is much more derived (through etymological associations) and "abstract."
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    Re: smart videogames

    Applicable concepts include Latent Learning and Dual Processing Models.
    My descriptions of "strategizing" and "specialized attention" are not authoritative. Personally I suspect that language is only another kind of "mental representation."
    Last edited by haplorrhine; 1 Week Ago at 08:55 PM.

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    Re: smart videogames

    but as everything in social sciences it is all just a theory and there are many of them...

    "how videogames can stimulate cognitive strategies, cognitive awareness, and social awareness"


    Everything can be learned. Just like machine learns, humans learn as well. while learning they develop various strategies to overcome their problems.

    an interesting game to look at is far cry primal - hardcore mode. though even that one can be learned on easier modes.

    there was also a game (don't remember it's neme) where there is hardcore mode (1 life) and options and maps change each time you play it.

    as for social awareness - awareness of what exactly? and why? a game like MMO would change dynamics or force player into certain group dynamic. you had second life, btu that was not really a game and the dynamics there were odd. it all has much to do with anonymity.

    but how would do social awareness without any people involved? why would someone care about NPC. well they might care about them, but they won't loose sleep over them perishing in game or having any kind of issues in game. in Far cry 2 you die in the end to save people. well that is kind of silly, since they weren't helping you before and you were doing the arms trade and killing. you wasn't exactly sympathetic to their plight (except on the start of the story) and also i couldn't care less if they all perished. it was a game after all and no one die in reality. also if i was trading weapons like that i would probably be rich by now.

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    Re: smart videogames

    Quote Originally Posted by mastablasta View Post
    but as everything in social sciences it is all just a theory and there are many of them...



    Everything can be learned. Just like machine learns, humans learn as well. while learning they develop various strategies to overcome their problems.

    an interesting game to look at is far cry primal - hardcore mode. though even that one can be learned on easier modes.

    there was also a game (don't remember it's neme) where there is hardcore mode (1 life) and options and maps change each time you play it.

    as for social awareness - awareness of what exactly? and why? a game like MMO would change dynamics or force player into certain group dynamic. you had second life, btu that was not really a game and the dynamics there were odd. it all has much to do with anonymity.

    but how would do social awareness without any people involved? why would someone care about NPC. well they might care about them, but they won't loose sleep over them perishing in game or having any kind of issues in game. in Far cry 2 you die in the end to save people. well that is kind of silly, since they weren't helping you before and you were doing the arms trade and killing. you wasn't exactly sympathetic to their plight (except on the start of the story) and also i couldn't care less if they all perished. it was a game after all and no one die in reality. also if i was trading weapons like that i would probably be rich by now.

    [/COLOR]
    The games would not train our "emotional empathy," but something more like "cognitive empathy" or else plain-old psychology. For example, animal behavior could reflect more basic drives and principles (e.g. pavlov's dogs), whereas human behavior could reflect particularly human facets of psychology. Moreover, some NPC's could have the potential for being allies or enemies, whereas in most games they're either inherently good or inherently bad.

    However, I am glad that you made me think this. It is well-known that different personality types have different correlations with different kinds of social skills. One publication's data showed a sample of narcissists/borderlines with higher/lower cognitive empathy and lower/higher emotional empathy. Another publication documented that narcissism wasn't correlated with higher "mentalizing" expect when the "exploitative" traits were emphasized. The trouble is that, if a videogames can be designed to teach either kind of empathy, it will be cognitive empathy, the kind that might be more useful for exploitation.
    However, my initial post emphasized the need to inform everybody. You could also contend that, on a positive note, narcissists are less naive. This plays on a broader principle I have recognized, which is that some particular kinds of knowledge which have more potential for destruction (e.g. knowledge for making bombs) can be less destructive in the hands (or minds) of more people.

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    Re: smart videogames

    Quote Originally Posted by haplorrhine View Post
    The games would not train our "emotional empathy," but something more like "cognitive empathy" or else plain-old psychology. For example, animal behavior could reflect more basic drives and principles (e.g. pavlov's dogs), whereas human behavior could reflect particularly human facets of psychology. Moreover, some NPC's could have the potential for being allies or enemies, whereas in most games they're either inherently good or inherently bad.
    In the TES games they are not inherently good or bad. but they did do this better in Morrowind than Oblivion (i haven't played Skyrim, since i don't think my old PC can handle it). in the end you find out that the big bad guy (Dagoth Ur) is actually not a bad guy. The others fighting him could be considered. he is just using methods that are not democratic and peaceful (because those failed) in order to expel the occupying force. my big issue with the game is that when asked to join him, you actually can't. it would make sense if you could. particularly if you play it as the dark elf.

    in oblivion beggars are neutral. unless you join thieves guild, then they become allies. on the other hand guards that defended you before, become enemies. many new, more complex games are made this way.

    In Arx fatalis you can kill everyone - they good, the bad, the neutral and finish the game. [spoiler] you thus save the world from the "evil", but who is left to enjoy it (you are take to the other plain of existence in the end, because you are too strong to stay)?[spoiler]

    but most game really do have 2 NPC - good or bad. but this is not only found in games, but also in literature, most films... why stop at media? you have ancient dramas, plays, folk songs, sagas, legends... people like to see the struggle and they like to see their hero win. more importantly they like to see the good win. and tragedies where the good doesn't win are often problematic for authorities.

    it get's even more complicated when you include society or groups. where people in certain group are 100% certain they are the good guys, while the "others" are the evil ones.

    In any case to even start talking about inherently good or inherently evil you would need to define that first. good luck with that. it is not universal. just as the actions are perceived differently. just remember the unrest triggered by certain prophet being drawn. the protesters believed the other side was pure evil, while the other side believed they are the evil ones. an evil that should be stopped at all costs.

    However, my initial post emphasized the need to inform everybody. You could also contend that, on a positive note, narcissists are less naive. This plays on a broader principle I have recognized, which is that some particular kinds of knowledge which have more potential for destruction (e.g. knowledge for making bombs) can be less destructive in the hands (or minds) of more people.
    well too much empathy can be just as damaging as too much narcissism.

    also sometimes, in order to create something new, you need to destroy something old. either it's a building, a system, a belief or a theory
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    Re: smart videogames

    Quote Originally Posted by mastablasta View Post
    but as everything in social sciences it is all just a theory and there are many of them...

    [/COLOR]
    Although I wanted to dismissively deride this criticism, I found that the scientific grounding of the ideas is an important consideration. If the theories are solid, they should be taught. If the theories are not solid, they are actually more dispensable than the nitty-gritty methods, experiments, and perspectives that gave them to us. If the theories (and their competitors) are approximately predictive and likely approximately accurate, we might need a middle ground approach.

    Questioning psychological knowledge is a slippery slope. Empiricism, the basis of science, implicitly acknowledges the validity of perceptions and our ability to reflect on those perceptions. Rejecting even this will lead to solipsism. However, introspection isn't enough to penetrate every reason for everything we do. Experiments on cognitive dissonance, how we retroactively justify our actions to match our beliefs, make this much clear.
    It might seem straightforwardly obvious to divide mental activity into the preconscious and the post-conscious, but it is likely that a certain amount of information processing is, literally, lost in translation. Language seems to help with the dual encoding that furthers the embeddedness of ideas of the past, and to be retained in memory is to be re-imagined and/or illustrated or to be categorized, relativized and described in word. A certain amount of processing is inevitably lost on the way, i.e. in translation. Indeed, psychologists have even documented the problems with eye witness accounts, and in this instance it is the psychologist who is challenging what we had taken for granted.
    Permitting the empirical validity of certain kinds of experiences and reports, we can use our mighty brain power to propose unexpected, counterintuitive ways of categorizing. By default, we only grouped together those experiences that seemed to occur in succession, because those experiences happened to simultaneously occupy our short-term memory. This wouldn't be entirely unlike the behaviorist perspective that was popular in the early 1900s (of course, your player will not have an MRI in his living room). However, this is still only a game of Boolean maths, and what emerges won't necessarily be any simpler than what preceded it. The moral: Behavioral ecology is too complex for a biology, but introspection and memory have their own flaws that limit the psychological sciences.
    In short, this is a philosophical and mathematical problem that will challenge a lot of what you thought you already knew... and a lot of psychology.

    Here's to a science of science!

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