Meaningful Play 2018 at Michigan State University

Session Information

TitleAchievement unlocked? Exploring the Complexities of Empathy in Games
Presenter(s)Matthew Farber, Paul Darvasi, Karen Schrier, Liz Owens Boltz, and Kelli Dunlap
TimeFriday, October 12, 10:30a-11:30a
LocationSuperior Room
FormatPanel
DescriptionOf all the social and emotional skills video games might support, empathy has perhaps garnered the most attention, and the most hype. But what is empathy, really, and how easy is it to move the needle on players' skills in this area? The panel members will dissect prevalent beliefs and debunk myths related to empathy in games, as well as discuss their own research, relevant case studies, and practical applications -- all of which take into account how tricky it can be to "do empathy" in games correctly. Some questions they'll explore: Are games/VR really the ultimate "empathy machines"? Are player agency and interactivity the keys to empathic connection in games? Is "walking in an avatar's shoes" the most impactful way to build player empathy? Can video games increase players' capacity for empathy? How might games fit within an instructional model designed to support or promote empathy? Are games really more "powerful," empathy-wise, than other forms of art and media like film, literature, and theater?

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