TheVerge: I Used Google Glass

A great video on Google Glass: uses, concept, design, future developments, and when they plan to make it available for the general public.

Social Influence in Gaming, Social Media, and Social Marketing

Joinson, Mckenna, Postmes, and Reips (2009) discuss three main types of social influence: compliance, norm-based influence, and interpersonal influence. Compliance takes place when an individual molds their actions around what is expected of them in a social situation; they act on other peoples’ expectations. Norm-based influence is when an individual makes a change to their behavior in order to fit in with their in-group, and do so of their own volition. Interpersonal influence takes place when and individual sees themselves as distict, and obtains information or perspective from other individuals which they see as useful, influential, or relevant; we may be persuaded by others whom we see as being applicable to our needs or personal validity.

Evidence of these social influences are readily found in online gaming communities. Barnett and Coulson (2010) discuss the formation of organized groups of players (aka guilds) in massively multiplayer online games (MMOs) and what motivates players to join them. They note that due to the varying roles that must be played in order to accomplish goals within these guilds, players must trade information while still fulfilling their individual purposes. In this way, players exibit interpersonal influence on one another. Other research notes that players are influenced socially in game play, but do not clearly define whether the influence is compliant or norm-based (Cole & Griffiths, 2007).

An example of compliant social influence was uncovered when studying Facebook group use (Park, Kee, & Venezuela, 2009). Students report using Facebook groups because they felt compelled by fellow students and identified doing so as an in-group normative behavior.

Finally, norm-based influence can be found in social martketing (McKenzie-Mohr, 2000). When social marketers present desired behaviors as social normatives, individuals may alter their behaviors of their own choosing to match the desired behavior presented in the campaign. In this way, the individual avoids cognitive dissonance and is able to percieve themselves as complying with the more desirable behavior; that of the in-group as presented by the campaign.

When we understand how social influence affects behaviors and changes, as well as personal identities, we can not only understand changes in individuals but we are better equipped to use these influences to overcome marginalization, develop various skills, and teach others to follow suit.


Barnett, J., & Coulson, M. (2010). Virtually real: A psychological perspective on massively multiplayer online games. Review of General Psychology, 14(2), 167–179. doi:10.1037/a0019442
Cole, H., & Griffiths, M. D. (2007). Social Interactions in Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Gamers. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 10(4), 575–583. doi:10.1089/cpb.2007.9988
Joinson, A. N. (2009). The Oxford handbook of Internet psychology. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.
McKenzie-Mohr, D. (2000). Fostering sustainable behavior through community-based social marketing. American Psychologist, 55(5), 531–537. doi:10.1037//0003-066X.55.5.531
Park, N., Kee, K. F., & Valenzuela, S. (2009). Being immersed in social networking environment: Facebook groups, uses and gratifications, and social outcomes. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 12(6), 729–733. doi:10.1089/cpb.2009.0003

Just the Tip of the “Gamification” Iceberg

Earlier this year, I was exposed to Seth Priebatsch via assigned reading/viewing for my Immersive Media & Mobile Advocacy class at Fielding. His TED Talk got me thinking; how is my life like a game? How could it be? As a gamer, are there ways to take what I know of my gaming motivations and use them as motivations for success in the real world? Can that work for motivating others around me? The contemplation is really endless; considering types of games and how they can be implemented into real life, what type of gamer you are and why, and how realistic would it be to implement gaming elements into you real life routine? I could go on and on.

So it shouldn’t have surprised me to see an article about a prison using gaming elements as reinforcement for desired behaviors., how you know what I’m craving to read. I was also, surprised (again… shouldn’t have been) to see that it was written by Seth. He describes a prison (Louisiana State Pen) using various rewards (e.g., an annual rodeo, pet ownership, the opportunity to hold a job, etc.) as reinforcement for desired behavior. Some of the rewards require years of work and appropriate behavior to earn. Seth describes the reasons the game works: pride and meaning. He notes that the rewards (particularly the rodeo) means freedom, accomplishment, and notoriety. He also explains that these accomplishments are similar to levels in a game. Sometimes, we play games just to say we got to that unreachable level, or to see what came after reaching the top. The same elements can be applied to real life situations if we consider “gamification” fully and take its potential and power seriously.


Priebatsch, S. (2012, August). Gaming reality. Retrieved from:

Research Review: Attachment Style Differences in Online Relationship Involvement

This week, I figured we would change it up a bit; go more vague media, less specifically gaming.

Dr. Jiali Ye (2007) decided to look into whether or not relationship development and satisfaction differs in ways similar to offline relationships. A questionnaire was sent via Google Newsgroups, fetching just over 100 respondents. On average, the respondents were 35 years old.

Dr. Ye was asked about how long respondents’ relationships had been going on, to what extent they interacted online, and how satisfied they were with those relationships. Repondents were asked whether the relationships were casual, close, or romantic. Finally, items were included that measured attachment types: secure, dismissal, fearful, and preoccupied. Let’s clarify what these mean before I continue.

I knew I was a Lucy fan! Wait…

In this case, a secure attachment style is one which the individual is comfortable being intimate, but also okay doing things on their own. A dismissal attachment style means the individuals tend to want to be alone and don’t really do the relationship thing. Fearful individuals want an intimate and close relationship, but they’re afraid of failure, so they avoid them. And preoccupied individuals are dependent on their partners, but still afraid of rejection.

What Dr. Ye found was not surprising; those who are have closer relationships tend to be more comfortable having deep online relationships and are more satisfied with them, as well. And this seems to be true for all four attachment styles. Dr. Ye theorizes that this may be due to the lack of cues that we tend to make judgments based on, created a more level playing field for the relationships. The only time any of the attachment styles differed was in casual relationships; secure and fearful individuals were okay sharing more online than the others were. The only real difference in satisfaction was that casual relationships didn’t appear to be as satisfying as close or romantic relationships- duh.

So there you have it! Though this is, in no way, the end all authority on relationships and the internet, it is one of the early measures of online attachment styles and how they interact with online relationships. Ooh! Maybe next week, I’ll talk about all the reasons that long-distance, online relationships are likely to create more intimate connections than face-to-face ones!

/digs out research while laughing maniacally


Ye, J. (2007). Attachment style differences in online relationship involvement: An examination of interaction characteristics and relationship satisfaction. CyberPsychology & Behavior10(4), 605-607. doi: 10.1089/cpb.2007.9982

Two Sides of the Same Coin

As I consider the chapters for this week’s post- the paths of the waves of information contained in each, and how they are relevant to me- it occurs to me that these Chayko and Shayo et al. are discussing different sides of the same coin. 

Chayko (2008) explains the parts of the whole. The individual phenomena that are a result of the post modern ‘information highway’ that is the current technological explosion. She discusses how post modern work and personal relationships may be similar to, or an advancement of, more traditional relationship development. She also presents reasons for these developments (e.g., how social media functionally support close emotional bonds in which physical spheres need never be the same). She is able to articulate how we process this new technology, and how it is able to work its way into our social norms. In other words, Chayko presents us with the ingredients to our virtual society 7-layer dip.

Shayo et al. (2007) may be described as the sum of its parts. In other words, explaining that we’re headed for a virtual society, where it comes from, where it is headed, what the challenges that come from it are, and what we can do with it. They have effectively zoomed out from Chayko’s perspective. Understanding that virtual societies need specific support and have specific roots, but facilitate a vast array of activities within work and social organizations and communities, allows us to help mediate these developments.

In my life, personally, I have experienced astounding changes in the way I approach school, relationships, and even work. Being able to attend Fielding is one example of how virtual organizations and communities work. Last semester I worked on a project with my friend Crystal. I met Crystal via classes at Fielding, we began skyping and building cognitive resonance. When the opportunity to begin a team project came up, we took it, having found that we get along very well, and even have complementary strengths. Using only virtual tools (e.g., Skype, Google docs, SMS, and Prezi), we were able to create a presentation that we were both very proud of. In previous posts, I’ve discussed my long distance relationship with my best friend. I successfully directed our court in the 3 Barons Renaissance Fair with the help of several types of media, thus creating a virtual community with which to share information, documents, immersive storytelling opportunities, and more.

Chayko (2008) recognizes that cyberspace is a place that we go to; not unlike the library, zoo, theatre, or school. We have learned- and continue to learn- to use a variety of media to achieve the desired results, to nearly every task we undertake. In my opinion, it is important to understand all sides of this coin; to comprehend the pieces, causes, results, and uses to the virtual society and sociomental spaces that are created by web 2.0 and all of it’s co-conspirators (i.e., mobile phones, applications, email, etc.) if for no other reason than the dissolution of borders and prejudices.

Narrative Psychology: We’re All Storytellers

Scholars analyze the history of theatre not only in search of specific answers, but often in search of consistencies throughout (Wilson & Goldfarb, 2008). Actors, when they are learning to analyze their craft, study tirelessly to master consistencies such as themes, character goals, plots, symbols, etc. Often, this history is used for reasons similar to other histories; the attempt to repeat, or avoid repeating, dynamic situations, for example. And just as there are a variety of reasons to study the history of theatre, there are also a variety of people. Joseph Campbell is one such individual, as is any playwright, literary author, or psychologist (just to name a few).

Psychologists from varying subdivisions (e.g., personality psychology, cognitive psychology, etc.) may use narratives and theatre to different ends (McAdams, 2001). For example, a clinician may ask a patient to reenact an event, or create a narrative which enables the patient to explore alternative endings to a situation. Researching narratives gives us clues as to when, how and why humans retrieve memories and convey them to others. Another use of theatre and narratives in psychology, is the use of the forum theatre, which allows large groups of people to participate as both spectators and actors, in order to collectively create a piece of theatre which fulfills a purpose, whatever that purpose may be (Sliep & Meyer-Weitz, 2003).

Joseph Campbell studied the history of mythology narratives in all mediums, and has presented us with themes that run throughout; themes that we can learn from and grow from as individuals (Campbell, 1988). These themes may also enable us to more competently navigate moratoriums and chisel for ourselves self-identities (McAdams, 2001). Playwrights and novelists research history in order to more completely transport readers/spectators into a world beyond their own (Wilson & Goldfarb, 2008). Transportation is an important consideration when dealing with narratives. When we are transported, we are able to view problems from alternative perspectives, live vicariously through characters, recover from the effects of daily stress, feel intimacy, or even expand our creative horizons (Green, Brock, & Kaufman, 2004).

Narratives allow us to make sense of our pasts, our cultures, our beliefs, and our aspirations (Green, Brock, & Kaufman, 2004). Theatre is just one medium for the relay of such narratives. However, many mediums exist; each effective in their own right. How effective a medium is at transporting an individual, depends on that individual, but the medium doesn’t matter as long as the transportation takes place (2004).

Theatre history, though, is more than just being transported to another place. It is a history of our planet’s development, it’s people, and the ages throughout (Wilson & Goldfarb, 2008). It helps us understand zeitgeists and ortgeists, as well as relays stories of heroes and their journeys (Campbell, 1998). The possibilities are limitless within the narrative, and so too, are their uses.


Cambell, J. (1988). The hero’s adventure [The Power of Myth]. Retrieved from

Green, M., Brock, T., & Kaufman, G. (2004). Understanding media enjoyment: The role of transportation into narrative worlds. Communication Theory, 14(4), 311-327.

McAdams, D. (2001). The psychology of life stories. Review of General Psychology, 5(2), 100-122. doi: 1089-2680/01

Sliep, Y., & Meyer-Weitz, A. (2003). Strengthening social fabric through narrative theatre. Intervention1(3), 45-56.

Wilson, E., & Goldfarb, A. (2008). History of theatre: Living theatre (5th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.


Communication technology and social change: Theory and implications (2007) suggests that social change occurs after a major (and usually negative) event has taken place; usually in the form of an innovative idea meant to deal with the issue. Timing, as they say, is everything. Jensen and Wagoner (2009, p. 226) suggest note that “Partial adoption, resistance, conflict over resources, dynamism and contingency have always defined social and cultural change.” Examples of the cycle of social change suggested by Jensen and Wagoner (2009) include alcohol prohibition and psychoanalysis.

In fact, this social change cycle can be seen in the history of Psychology as a field. What one theory lacks, the next overcompensates for; there is resistance of ideas, reformation, and a re-presentation of the changed product for implication and continued scrutiny. When structuralism tried to break psychophysics down too excessively, it gave way to the more broad functionalism. However, functionalism only sought to explain ‘normal’ human behavior; Freud manufactured explanations for abnormal behaviors. When psychoanalysis was too subjective, behaviorism looked at only what could be actively observed. Gestalt recognized the need for both observable and cognitive processes, but didn’t have any suggestions for how to make it possible. And cognitive psychology argued that subjects can learn and behavior of their own volition. (Petraitis, personal communication, January – April 2011)

As with paradigm shifts within the field of Psychology, social change is the culmination of norms which have been questioned, reviewed, reformatted, and beta tested (so to speak). While the delivery method of the message is important, in order for a change to be effective and received, the zeitgeist and ortgeist must be right. If there is no need for change at a particular time or place, the change will be resisted.


Communication technology and social change: Theory and implications (2007). In Lin C. A., Atkin D. J. (Eds.), . Mahwah, NJ, US: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers. Retrieved from

Jensen, E., & Wagoner, B. (2009). Continuing commentary: A cyclical model of social change. Culture & Psychology15 (2), 217-228 doi:10.1177/1354067X08099624