NIH Pathfinder: Virtual Games for STEMM Faculty to Break the Bias Habit (Fair Play)
PI: Molly Carnes
Can a video game help faculty annd graduate students to break the bias habit? This project aims to develop an interactive, experiential, case-based computer game, called Fair Play, that will teach players to recognize and self-correct implicit stereotype-based biases. This approach is based on the proven impact of game-based learning on attitudes, behaviors, and social interactions in several fields including medical education and counseling. This approach is also informed by research showing that organizational change depends on attitudinal and behavioral changes in members of the organization – in this case STEMM faculty and graduate students. The potential for groundbreaking impact is supported by reports stating that the aggregate impact of implicit biases may constitute the greatest impediment to the full participation and advancement in STEMM of ethnic and racial minorities, people with disabilities, and women.
Fair Play’s gameplay and mechanics are inspired by point-and-click adventure games in which players explore the setting and embark on quests to advance the story. Players take on the perspective of Jamal Davis, a young African American student who has recently been accepted into graduate school and has plans to build a successful academic STEMM career for himself. Over the course of the game’s five chapters, Jamal meets peers and mentors who can propel him to (or hinder him from) achieving his ultimate goal of presenting his first research paper at an academic conference. As Jamal, players must conquer each chapter’s objectives such as finding an advisor and doing literature research for a paper while they witness how implicit biases may affect the undertaking and outcome of these tasks.
The game provides ample opportunity for players to experience implicit biases as they navigate the world of academia through the perspective of Jamal, particularly in conversations with other characters and through encounters with objects the game environment. It is through social interactions with other characters, as a form of role-play, that Fair Play simulates real-life bias encounters. By actively assuming the role of Jamal and experiencing bias through his interactions, we hope that our players will gain increased levels of perspective-taking, empathy, and awareness of biases against underrepresented individuals.
To learn more or to try the game, please visit the Games+Learning+Society project site and scroll down to Fair Play.
- Paiz-Ramirez, D., Chu, S., Salmon, A., & Gutierrez, B. (2011). Designing games for non-gamers: Adopting rapid prototyping as a design methodology. User Experience, 10(4), 11-13.
- Gutierrez, B., Ramirez, D., Chu, S., Samson-Samuel, C., & Carnes, M. (2013). Revealing how a videogame can change players’ implicit racial biases. To be presented at the annual Games+Learning+Society (GLS) Conference, Madison, WI, June 12-14.
- Ramirez, D., Chu, S., Samson-Samuel, C., Gutierrez, B., & Carnes, M. (2012). Pathfinder: Developing prototypes towards an engaging game to reduce implicit bias. In C. Martin, A. Ochsner, & K. Squire (Eds.), Proceedings of the 8th Annual Games+Learning+Society (GLS) Conference (pp. 431-437). Pittsburgh, PA: ETC Press.
- Gutierrez, B., Chu, S., Paiz-Ramirez, D., Squire, K., & Carnes, M. (2011). Pathfinder: A case example of designing an engaging game on unconscious bias. In Proceedings of the 5th Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) Conference, Think Design Play. Hilversum, Netherlands: DiGRA/Utrecht School of the Arts.
- Chu, S., Ramirez, D., & Samson-Samuel, C. (2012). Iterating towards balance: Converging educational content and core gameplay in a game for social impact. Invited poster presented at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research Poster Fair, Madison, WI, November 28.
- Chu, S., Gutierrez, B., Ramirez, D., Samson-Samuel, C., Squire, K., & Carnes, M. (2012). Content in context: Abstraction vs. realism in designing games for social impact. Roundtable presentation at the Meaningful Play 2012 Conference, East Lansing, MI, October 18-20.
- Robinson, E., Salmon, A., Paiz-Ramirez, D., Chu, S., Gutierrez, B., Squire, K., Millar, S., & Carnes, M. (2011). Iterative prototyping in the design of a game to promote diversity in STEMM fields. Invited workshop presented at the annual Games+Learning+Society (GLS) Conference, Madison, WI, June 15-17.
- Ramirez, D., Samson-Samuel, C., Chu, S., Gutierrez, B., Karczewski, J., Wiens, A., Smith, J., & Pempe, S. (2013). Fair Play: Eliciting perspective-taking through gameplay. To be exhibited at the annual Games+Learning+Society (GLS) Conference Education Arcade, Madison, WI, June 12-14.
- Ramirez, D., Chu, S., Gutierrez, B., Samson-Samuel, C., Karczewski, J., Wiens, A., Smith, J., Pempe, S., Squire, K., & Carnes, M. (2012). Fair Play. Exhibited at the Meaningful Play 2012 Conference Game Exhibition, East Lansing, MI, October 18-20.
- Gutierrez, B., Ramirez, D., Chu, S., Carnes, M., Squire, K., Samson-Samuel, C., Karczewski, J., Wiens, A., & Vaughan, G. (2012). Pathfinder: An engaging game to reduce implicit bias. Exhibited at the annual Games+Learning+Society (GLS) Conference Education Arcade, Madison, WI, June 13-15.
- Savoy, J. N., Byars-Winston, A. M., Kaatz, A., Gutierrez, B., Carnes, M., Fine, E., Sheridan, J., Pribbenow, C. (In Preparation). What does bias look like? Enhancing understandings of bias, behavior, and the environment in academic STEMM disciplines.