[talks] Dominic Kao MSE thesis talk

Melissa M. Lawson mml at CS.Princeton.EDU
Tue Apr 10 09:42:45 EDT 2012

Dominic Kao will present his MSE thesis talk on Monday April 16 at 
2PM in room 402.  The members of his committee are:  Yael Niv
(PSY), her postdoc Carlos Diuk, and Adam Finkelstein, reader.  
Everyone is invited to attend his talk.  His abstract follows below.

The world has already spent 5.93 million years playing the video game
World of Warcraft. What makes video games rewarding? We suggest that
one important factor in a player's enjoyment of a game is the schedule
of rewards, specifically, we hypothesized that variable rewards are
more interesting and enticing than a fixed reward size. To test this
hypothesis we studied several variable reward schedules contrasted
with a fixed reward schedule in a custom-built video game. We found
that variable reward schedules were preferred, except when the
schedule’s range included very small or non-existent (zero) rewards.
Participants consistently mischaracterized the variable reward
schedule as having a higher mean than the fixed schedule. We further
hypothesized that reward schedule preference is an indicator for game
genre preference. Ultimately, the conclusions made can be applied more
broadly to the now ubiquitous game mechanics that surround us in both
the real and virtual world.

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