Turning Computer Games into Powerful Learning Tools

 Jennifer Stromer-Galley, Tomek Strzalkowski
 Left to right: Jennifer Stromer-Galley, Tomek Strzalkowski
A University at Albany interdisciplinary research team is turning computer games into powerful learning tools.

In partnership with 1st Playable Productions, the team is developing a video game to train people to recognize and reduce cognitive biases routinely used. Such biases can lead to bad decisions in critical matters, including national security.

Led by College of Computing and Information Professor Tomek Strzalkowski and co-investigator Jennifer Stromer-Galley of the Department of Communication, the team also includes Laurie Feldman and Elana Gordis from the Department of Psychology.

The CYCLES (Cycles of Your Cognitive Learning, Expectations, and Schema) project is supported by an $8.7-million contract from the U.S. Air Force, and is sponsored by the Sirius Program of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, an arm of the federal Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

The non-commercial game will teach players how to recognize six common decision-making biases: confirmation bias, fundamental attribution bias, bias blind spot, representativeness bias, anchoring bias and projection bias. The goal is to reduce players' dependency on bias in real decision-making situations by as much as 65 percent. It is intended to be relevant to intelligence community analysts.