Cognitive Gamer
Cognitive Gamer
Stephen Blessing
I examine how cognitive psychology can help explain and inform how we play games. Each episode looks at how a particular cognitive phenomenon affects game playing. All types of games are considered, from board games to video games to games of chance. Check out for more information.
Episode 34: I Never Metacognition I Didn’t Like
As humans, we can think about our own thinking. This is referred to as metacognition, and can provide great insight into game playing and life in general. Game References Dominion, Dungeons and Dragons, League of Legends, Magic, poker, Rear Window … Continue reading →
Aug 12, 2022
14 min
Episode 33: Get Your Head in the Game
This episode considers how best to learn and teach games. Are there particular techniques that enables people to learn games more quickly and efficiently, and that also results in a longer memory for those rules? Game References Fog of Love, … Continue reading →
Sep 16, 2021
22 min
Episode 32: From the Bottom to the Top and Back Again
When processing information, humans use both the information coming through our senses and previously stored knowledge. This is referred to as bottom-up versus top-down processing. This podcast explores how this occurs when we play games. Game References Paranormal Detective Research … Continue reading →
Apr 8, 2021
17 min
Episode 31: I Think I Know What You Know
Show Notes When playing games, we find it useful to consider what other players know, and how that affects game play. Psychologists study theory of mind, our concept of what other people know. Dr. Jennifer Blessing and I discuss how … Continue reading →
Jun 25, 2020
28 min
Episode 30: The Invisible Boardgame
I ruminate on playing games online and how that relates to both game and interface design, as well as how humans experience emotion. This has ties to me planning to teach my Cognition of Game Playing as an online class … Continue reading →
Apr 18, 2020
17 min
Episode 29: This is Like That: The Importance of Analogies
In talking about a game, we almost always make references to past games in order to describe or teach the new game. What does cognitive psychology have to say about analogy use, in terms of how prevalent and useful it … Continue reading →
Jan 29, 2020
14 min
Episode 28: From Novice to Expert in One Easy Step
What happens, cognitively speaking, as we move from novice to expert in a game? The episode examines changes in memory and strategy as people gain experience not only games, but in other mental and physical activities as well. Game References … Continue reading →
Nov 21, 2019
16 min
Episode 27: Mental Models
If you are an experienced gamer, you have seen that you can pick up a new game much more quickly than someone who doesn’t have as much gaming experience. Why is that? We discuss both the benefits and detriments of … Continue reading →
Sep 3, 2019
15 min
Episode 26: To Switch or Not to Switch (but not that type of Switch)
Multi-tasking happens a lot. We’re in a meeting, we email. We watch TV, we text. And to the chagrin of many, we play a game with our friends, we scroll through social media. What does cognitive psychology have to say … Continue reading →
Aug 5, 2019
14 min
Episode 25: Now That’s Deep!
We examine the concept of levels of processing in this episode, that if you process an experience more deeply, you will remember it better. This comes into play in many aspects of gaming, for both players and designers. Game References … Continue reading →
Jun 28, 2019
13 min
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