Topics in Cognitive Science 9 (2):289-307 (2017)

Why games? How could anyone consider action games an experimental paradigm for Cognitive Science? In 1973, as one of three strategies he proposed for advancing Cognitive Science, Allen Newell exhorted us to “accept a single complex task and do all of it.” More specifically, he told us that rather than taking an “experimental psychology as usual approach,” we should “focus on a series of experimental and theoretical studies around a single complex task” so as to demonstrate that our theories of human cognition were powerful enough to explain “a genuine slab of human behavior” with the studies fitting into a detailed theoretical picture. Action games represent the type of experimental paradigm that Newell was advocating and the current state of programming expertise and laboratory equipment, along with the emergence of Big Data and naturally occurring datasets, provide the technologies and data needed to realize his vision. Action games enable us to escape from our field's regrettable focus on novice performance to develop theories that account for the full range of expertise through a twin focus on expertise sampling and longitudinal studies of simple and complex tasks.
Keywords Tetris  Cognitive skill acquisition  Video games  Halo  Expertise sampling  Action games  Longitudinal studies  Computer games  Verbal protocol analysis  Extreme expertise  Space Fortress  Chess  Cohort analysis  Skilled performance  StarCraft
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/tops.12260
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 62,448
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Prediction in Joint Action: What, When, and Where.Natalie Sebanz & Guenther Knoblich - 2009 - Topics in Cognitive Science 1 (2):353-367.
Chunking Mechanisms in Human Learning.F. Gobet, P. Lane, S. Croker, P. Cheng, G. Jones, I. OlIver & J. Pine - 2001 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 5 (6):236-243.

View all 32 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Allen Newell's Program of Research: The Video‐Game Test.Fernand Gobet - 2017 - Topics in Cognitive Science 9 (2):522-532.
Are Video Games Art?Aaron Smuts - 2005 - Contemporary Aesthetics 3.
Video Games and the Philosophy of Art.Aaron Smuts - 2005 - American Society for Aesthetics Newsletter.


Added to PP index

Total views
13 ( #741,922 of 2,446,176 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #310,555 of 2,446,176 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes