Psyc 309V: The Psychology of Video Games and Entertainment

Course Description: This course is totally experimental at this point. We will be experimenting with the materials, the subject, readings, types of assignments, everything. I hope that this will be hard but fun course. The psychology of video games is actually a very big topic, bigger than one semester, but we will try to cover as much as possible. We will pool our resourses. Many of you may be experts in particular video games but know nothing about others.

Textbook and Materials:

Loftus & Loftus (1983). The mind at play: The psychology of video games. New York: Basic Books.

Norman, K. L. (2008). Cyberpsychology: An introduction to the psychology of human/computer interaction. Cambridge Unviersity Press.

Assigned readings should be completed by the day listed on the syllabus so that lectures and discussion will be relevant.

Exams: A midterm and a final will be given. Each exam will be a combination of multiple choice and essay. Both exams will be given online in the Teaching Theater.

Assignments: Periodic assignments will be given. These must be completed online and submitted online. These will involve small projects, short writing assignments, and online discussions. In addition, there will be group projects and presentations.

Class Participation: You are expected to attend all classes. If you are or plan to be absent, you are to submit an electronic excuse. You are to log into the system at the beginning of each class period and participate in all online exercises and discussions in class and out of class.

Course Grade: The course grade will be based on a weighted combination of the midterm (25%), the final (25%), assignments (20%), and class discussions (10%), and two class presentations (5% and 10%).

Instructor: Dr. Kent L. Norman
Office: BPS 3123F
phone: (301) 405-5924
email: klnorman@umd.edu

Office Hours:

Monday 1:00 - 2:00 pm
Wednesday 10:00 - 11:00 am

Syllabus

PSYC 309V: The Psychology of Video Games and Entertainment

DateTopicReadingsAssignments
1/26/2009
Introduction to the Classroom
Manual

1/28/2009
Introduction to Video Games
Reading 1
Proj_01: Class Profile
1/30/2009
The Psychology of Games and Role Play
Reading 2
Proj_02: Game Choice
2/2/2009
Game Theory

Proj_03: Game Journal
2/4/2009
The History of Video Games
Reading 3
Discussion 1
2/6/2009
Game Play and Discussion


2/9/2009
More History


2/11/2009
A Taxonomy of Games
Reading 4

2/13/2009
Presentations, Game Play, and Discussion

Proj_04: Game History
2/16/2009
Types, Genres, Factors, etc.


2/18/2009
Psychological Attraction to Games
Reading 5

2/20/2009
Presentations, Game Play, and Discussion

Proj_05: Game Analysis
2/23/2009
Video Game Addiction

Discussion 2
2/25/2009
Human Factors of Controllers and Displays
Reading 6

2/27/2009
Presentations, Game Play, and Discussion


3/2/2009
More Human Factors Issues

Proj_06: Wikipedia Entry
3/4/2009
Cognitive Processes in Game Playing
Reading 7
Discussion 3
3/6/2009
Presentations, Game Play, and Discussion


3/9/2009
Cognitive Abilities


3/11/2009
Midterm Exam


3/13/2009
Presentations, Game Play, and Discussion


3/16/2009
(Spring Break)


3/23/2009
Orientation and Virtual Reality
Reading 8
Proj_07: Immersion
3/25/2009
Immersion and Engagement


3/27/2009
Presentations, Game Play, and Discussion


3/30/2009
Skill Acquisition and Learning
Reading 9
Discussion 4
4/1/2009
Transfer of Training


4/3/2009
Presentations, Game Play, and Discussion


4/6/2009
Gender Issues
Reading 10
Proj_08: Stereotypes
4/8/2009
More on Gender


4/10/2009
Presentations, Game Play, and Discussion


4/13/2009
Social, Cultural, and Ethnic Issues
Reading 11
Proj_09: Culture
4/15/2009
Violence and Video Games
Reading 12
Discussion 5
4/17/2009
Presentations, Game Play, and Discussion


4/20/2009
More Violence


4/22/2009
Digital Convergence
Reading 13

4/24/2009
Entertainment and Media

Discussion 6
4/27/2009
Edutainment
Reading 14
Proj_10: Spillover Behaviors
4/29/2009
Playing to Learn


5/1/2009
Presentations, Game Play, and Discussion


5/4/2009
The Future of Games and Media
Reading 15
Proj_11: Predictions
5/6/2009
Team Project Presentations (1, 2, and 3)


5/8/2009
Team Project Presentations (4, 5, and 6)

Proj_12: Course Feedback
5/11/2009
Review Day


5/18/2009
Final Exam (1:30 pm-3:30 pm)