Theory of action phases in video games: effects of deliberative and implemental mindset differences in video game design

Kosa, Mehmet
With the proliferation of the technologies that enable and drive video gaming domain, the effects of and motivation for gaming has gained much attention from the research point of view. In this thesis, “Mindset Theory of Action Phases” is transferred to the video gaming domain and was tested to observe if mindsets are affecting player’s performances, enjoyment or their predictions about their performances. According to the theory, people tend to be in a certain cognitive orientation that also affects them behaviorally depending on whether they are deliberating on a personal problem where they are indecisive (deliberative mindset) or they have passed the deliberation stage, made up their minds and are planning a roadmap (implemental mindset). In an experimental study, the mindsets are induced by pen-and-paper methods and then participants played a non-commercial twitch style video game. Results showed that there is a statistically significant difference between the deliberative and implemental mindset groups in terms of their performance and prediction of their scores. Implemental mindset group scored significantly better than the deliberative mindset group. Deliberative mindset group was more realistic and implemental mindset group was more optimistic on their predictions. No difference was found in terms of perceived competence, flow, intrinsic motivation or engagement between the mindsets. The results might be significantly beneficial for game designers since they will be able to harness the power of mindsets if they can find creative ways for in-game mindset manipulations that can be tied to the game mechanics naturally.