Academic Field

Psychology

Faculty Mentor Name

Douglas Maynard

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Abstract

Self-handicapping in a game occurs when a more experienced player “eases up” or does not actively pursue victory when teaching a new player, usually with the goal of allowing for a more even playing field. We hypothesize that, in general, self-handicapping enhances the new player’s gameplay experience by making it easier for new players to learn the game, which should increase new player effort, enjoyment, and self-confidence with the game. In order to test this hypothesis, we have developed an experiment in which an experienced confederate will teach a board game to participants who are unfamiliar with the game. The confederate will then play a round of the game with participants under one of three randomly assigned conditions of self-handicapping: none, overt and covert. In the overt self-handicapping condition, the confederate will announce their intention to self-handicap (“Since you’re playing the game for the first time, I’m going to go easy on you”) while limiting the number of cards they can choose from during gameplay. In the covert self-handicapping condition, the confederate plays in the same manner but without announcing the self-imposed limitations to the participant. We expect that self-handicapping will lead to more positive perceptions of the board game itself, as well as a greater intention to play again which we will test through participant survey and a behavioral measure (choosing the played game versus a similar, unplayed game when submitting a raffle ticket to win a game). We also hypothesize that these positive effects of self-handicapping will be stronger when the experienced player self-handicaps in secret, without the new players’ knowledge. Data collection will begin at the beginning of March and will continue until we have a total sample of 90 participants. We will share preliminary results based on already collected data.

Keywords

Self-handicapping, board games, psychology, games, play, prosocial behavior

Start Date

10-4-2015 2:00 PM

End Date

10-4-2015 2:45 PM

Location

SERC House of Fields

Share

COinS
 
Apr 10th, 2:00 PM Apr 10th, 2:45 PM

The Impact of Self-Handicapping in Strategic Board Games Upon New Player’s Experiences

SERC House of Fields

Self-handicapping in a game occurs when a more experienced player “eases up” or does not actively pursue victory when teaching a new player, usually with the goal of allowing for a more even playing field. We hypothesize that, in general, self-handicapping enhances the new player’s gameplay experience by making it easier for new players to learn the game, which should increase new player effort, enjoyment, and self-confidence with the game. In order to test this hypothesis, we have developed an experiment in which an experienced confederate will teach a board game to participants who are unfamiliar with the game. The confederate will then play a round of the game with participants under one of three randomly assigned conditions of self-handicapping: none, overt and covert. In the overt self-handicapping condition, the confederate will announce their intention to self-handicap (“Since you’re playing the game for the first time, I’m going to go easy on you”) while limiting the number of cards they can choose from during gameplay. In the covert self-handicapping condition, the confederate plays in the same manner but without announcing the self-imposed limitations to the participant. We expect that self-handicapping will lead to more positive perceptions of the board game itself, as well as a greater intention to play again which we will test through participant survey and a behavioral measure (choosing the played game versus a similar, unplayed game when submitting a raffle ticket to win a game). We also hypothesize that these positive effects of self-handicapping will be stronger when the experienced player self-handicaps in secret, without the new players’ knowledge. Data collection will begin at the beginning of March and will continue until we have a total sample of 90 participants. We will share preliminary results based on already collected data.