Just Seven Things

Exploring why and how we do what we do, and how we can do it better

Psychology of Game Playing: thoughts from the blogosphere

Building on my initial post on this weeks topic of the Psychology of Game Playing. My challenge is how and why playfulness and games both help deliver personal change and also enable creativity and problem solving.

Joel Gruber writes a great post on how playing games enables you to try out a new ‘skin’; to learn a new way of feeling and thinking by dropping your old rules and trying out some new rules for the game you’re about to play. I immediately started thinking about the use of modelling in NLP and how game playing allows us to creatively explore new potential models. So game playing as a great way of accessing ‘what-if’.

The great takeaway for me is: ‘You build worlds that allow you to tap into your unconscious mind and expose creative and problem-solving abilities’. So this gives one answer to my challenge about games enabling creativity and problem solving.

But I wonder also whether it can help towards ‘games delivering personal change’? Does the building of new worlds or trialling new skins; the ‘what if’ modelling enable us to make a leap from our old bad habits to experience a new set of possibilities? Does it enable us to feel how a new good routine or habit would make us feel?

It’s a nice thought, but for me the game playing that succeeds is far more simple. It feels more like we trick ourselves rather than aid ourselves.

Marelisa’s post on A Guide for Creating new Habits is an excellent analysis, and one that I want to look at in more detail later in the week in terms of how her ‘profile’ of a new habit appears to have a lot of parallels with game playing

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One thought on “Psychology of Game Playing: thoughts from the blogosphere

  1. Si,

    I like your concept of tricking ourselves into change.

    I agree that our attempts to change ourselves with an attitude of aiding ourselves are often hit or miss. NLP modeling can also suffer from the heaviness that accompanies the attitude of helping ourselves.

    As I said in my post, I think we are “built” to be simulators, to be possibility explorers.

    I think that games and play enable us to click into a natural mode of simulation. Both games and play are typically activated with an open attitude that invites a different “world” with different rules.

    This offers a tremendous potential for change, as long as the play and games remain with their natural “light” atmosphere, and don’t turn into a high-pressure game with a mean, controlling coach who takes all the fun out of it.

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