Arquivo da tag: Jogos

Saving Native Languages and Culture in Mexico With Computer Games (Indian Country)

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9/21/14

Indigenous children in Mexico can now learn their mother tongues with specialized computer games, helping to prevent the further loss of those languages across the country.

“Three years ago, before we employed these materials, we were on the verge of seeing our children lose our Native languages,” asserted Matilde Hernandez, a teacher in Zitacuaro, Michoacan.

“Now they are speaking and singing in Mazahua as if that had never happened,” Hernandez said, referring to computer software that provides games and lessons in most of the linguistic families of the country including Mazahua, Chinanteco, Nahuatl of Puebla, Tzeltal, Mixteco, Zapateco, Chatino and others.

The new software was created by scientists and educators in two research institutions in Mexico: the Victor Franco Language and Culture Lab (VFLCL) of the Center for Investigations and Higher Studies in Social Anthropology (CIHSSA); and the Computer Center of the National Institute of Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics (NIAOE).

According to reports released this summer, the software was developed as a tool to help counteract the educational lag in indigenous communities and to employ these educational technologies so that the children may learn various subjects in an entertaining manner while reinforcing their Native language and culture.

“This software – divided into three methodologies for three different groups of applications – was made by dedicated researchers who have experience with Indigenous Peoples,” said Dr. Frida Villavicencio, Coordinator of the VLFCL’s Language Lab.

“We must have an impact on the children,” she continued, “offering them better methodologies for learning their mother tongues, as well as for learning Spanish and for supporting their basic education in a fun way.”

Villavicencio pointed out that the games and programs were not translated from the Spanish but were developed in the Native languages with the help of Native speakers. She added that studies from Mexico’s National Institute of Indigenous Languages (NIIL) show that the main reason why indigenous languages disappear, or are in danger of doing so, is because in each generation fewer and fewer of the children speak those languages.

“We need bilingual children only in that way can we preserve their languages,” she added.

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/09/21/saving-native-languages-and-culture-mexico-computer-games-156961
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‘Bad’ video game behavior increases players’ moral sensitivity: May lead to pro-social behavior in real world (Science Daily)

Date: June 27, 2014

Source: University at Buffalo

Summary: New evidence suggests heinous behavior played out in a virtual environment can lead to players’ increased sensitivity toward the moral codes they violated. The current study found such guilt can lead players to be more sensitive to the moral issues they violated during game play. Other studies have established that in real life scenarios, guilt evoked by immoral behavior in the “real-world” elicits pro-social behaviors in most people.

Young men playing video games. New evidence suggests heinous behavior played out in a virtual environment can lead to players’ increased sensitivity toward the moral codes they violated. (stock image). Credit: © Nebojsa Bobic / Fotolia 

New evidence suggests heinous behavior played out in a virtual environment can lead to players’ increased sensitivity toward the moral codes they violated.

That is the surprising finding of a study led by Matthew Grizzard, PhD, assistant professor in the University at Buffalo Department of Communication, and co-authored by researchers at Michigan State University and the University of Texas, Austin.

“Rather than leading players to become less moral,” Grizzard says, “this research suggests that violent video-game play may actually lead to increased moral sensitivity. This may, as it does in real life, provoke players to engage in voluntary behavior that benefits others.”

The study, “Being Bad in a Video Game Can Make Us More Morally Sensitive,” was published online ahead of print on June 20 in the journalCyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking.

Grizzard points out that several recent studies, including this one, have found that committing immoral behaviors in a video game elicits feelings of guilt in players who commit them.

The current study found such guilt can lead players to be more sensitive to the moral issues they violated during game play. Other studies have established that in real life scenarios, guilt evoked by immoral behavior in the “real-world” elicits pro-social behaviors in most people.

“We suggest that pro-social behavior also may result when guilt is provoked by virtual behavior,” Grizzard says.

Researchers induced guilt in participants by having them play a video game where they violated two of five moral domains: care/harm, fairness/reciprocity, in-group loyalty, respect for authority, and purity/sanctity.

“We found that after a subject played a violent video game, they felt guilt and that guilt was associated with greater sensitivity toward the two particular domains they violated — those of care/harm and fairness/reciprocity,” Grizzard says. The first includes behaviors marked by cruelty, abuse and lack of compassion, and the second, by injustice or the denial of the rights of others.

“Our findings suggest that emotional experiences evoked by media exposure can increase the intuitive foundations upon which human beings make moral judgments,” Grizzard says. “This is particularly relevant for video-game play, where habitual engagement with that media is the norm for a small, but considerably important group of users.”

Grizzard explains that in life and in game, specific definitions of moral behavior in each domain will vary from culture to culture and situation to situation.

“For instance,” he says, “an American who played a violent game ‘as a terrorist’ would likely consider his avatar’s unjust and violent behavior — violations of the fairness/reciprocity and harm/care domains — to be more immoral than when he or she performed the same acts in the role of a ‘UN peacekeeper.'”

In conducting the study, researchers combined a model of intuitive morality and exemplars representing current advances in moral psychology with media-effects theories to explain how mediated or indirect experiences influence individuals’ moral judgments.

The study involved 185 subjects who were randomly assigned to either a guilt-inducing condition — in which they played a shooter game as a terrorist or were asked to recall real-life acts that induced guilt — or a control condition — shooter game play as a UN soldier and the recollection of real-life acts that did not induce guilt.

After completing the video game or the memory recall, participants completed a three-item guilt scale and a 30-item moral foundations questionnaire designed to assess the importance to them of the five moral domains cited above.

Correlations were calculated among the variables in the study, with separate correlation matrices calculated for the video-game conditions and the memory-recall conditions. The study found significant positive correlations between video-game guilt and the moral foundations violated during game play.

The study was co-authored by Ron Tamborini, PhD, professor, Department of Communication, Michigan State University; Robert J. Lewis, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Advertising and Public Relations, University of Texas, Austin; and Lu Wang, a former graduate student in the Department of Communication at Michigan State.

In May, a study by Tamborini, Grizzard, Lewis and three other authors published inJournal of Communication described mechanisms involved in exposure to entertainment and moral judgment processes.

Journal Reference:

  1. Matthew Grizzard, Ron Tamborini, Robert J. Lewis, Lu Wang, Sujay Prabhu. Being Bad in a Video Game Can Make Us More Morally SensitiveCyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 2014; 140620081138007 DOI:10.1089/cyber.2013.0658

Playing for All Kinds of Possibilities (N.Y.Times)

Buckets of Blickets: Children and Logic: A game developed by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley hopes to show how imaginative play in children may influence development of abstract thought.

By DAVID DOBBS

Published: April 22, 2013

When it comes to play, humans don’t play around.

Alison Gopnik and the Gopnik Lab/University of California, Berkeley. Esther and Benny, both 4, play Blickets with Sophie Bridgers in a lab at the University of California, Berkeley. Children, lacking prior biases, excel in the game, based on associations, but adults flunk it.

Other species play, but none play for as much of their lives as humans do, or as imaginatively, or with as much protection from the family circle. Human children are unique in using play to explore hypothetical situations rather than to rehearse actual challenges they’ll face later. Kittens may pretend to be cats fighting, but they will not pretend to be children; children, by contrast, will readily pretend to be cats or kittens — and then to be Hannah Montana, followed by Spider-Man saving the day.

And in doing so, they develop some of humanity’s most consequential faculties. They learn the art, pleasure and power of hypothesis — of imagining new possibilities. And serious students of play believe that this helps make the species great.

The idea that play contributes to human success goes back at least a century. But in the last 25 years or so, researchers like Elizabeth S. SpelkeBrian Sutton-SmithJaak Panksepp and Alison Gopnik have developed this notion more richly and tied it more closely to both neuroscience and human evolution. They see play as essential not just to individual development, but to humanity’s unusual ability to inhabit, exploit and change the environment.

Dr. Gopnik, author of “The Scientist in the Crib” and “The Philosophical Baby,” and a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, has been studying the ways that children learn to assess their environment through play. Lately she has focused on the distinction between “exploring” new environments and “exploiting” them. When we’re quite young, we are more willing to explore, she finds; adults are more inclined to exploit.

To exploit, one leans heavily on lessons (and often unconscious rules) learned earlier — so-called prior biases. These biases are useful to adults because they save time and reduce error: By going to the restaurant you know is good, instead of the new place across town, you increase the chance that you’ll enjoy the evening.

Most adults are slow to set such biases aside; young children fling them away like bad fruit.

Dr. Gopnik shows this brilliantly with a game she invented with the psychologist David Sobel (her student, now a professor at Brown). In the game, which has the fetching name Blickets, players try to figure out what it is that makes an otherwise undistinguished clay figure a blicket. In some scenarios you can win even if you’re applying a prior bias. In others you can’t.

Last summer I joined Dr. Gopnik behind a wall of one-way glass to watch her lab manager, Sophie Bridgers, play the game with an extremely alert 4-year-old, Esther.

Seated at a child-size table, Esther leaned forward on her elbows to watch as Ms. Bridgers brought out a small bin of clay shapes and told her that some of them were blickets but most were not.

“You cannot tell which ones are blickets by looking at them. But the ones that are blickets have blicketness inside. And luckily,” Ms. Bridgers went on, holding up a box with a red plastic top, “I have my machine. Blicketness makes my machine turn on and play music.”

It’s a ruse, of course. The box responds not to the clay shapes but to a switch under the table controlled by Ms. Bridgers.

Now came the challenge. The game can be played by either of two rules, called “and” and “or.” The “or” version is easier: When a blicket is placed atop the machine, it will light the machine up whether placed there by itself or with other pieces. It is either a blicket or it isn’t; it doesn’t depend on the presence of any other object.

In the “and” trial, however, a blicket reveals its blicketness only if both it and another blicket are placed on the machine; and it will light up the box even if it and the other blicket are accompanied by a non-blicket. It can be harder than it sounds, and this is the game that Esther played.

First, Ms. Bridgers put each of three clay shapes on the box individually — rectangle, then triangle, then a bridge. None activated the machine. Then she put them on the box in three successive combinations.

1. Rectangle and triangle: No response.

2. Rectangle and bridge: Machine lighted up and played a tune!

3. Triangle and bridge: No response.

Ms. Bridgers then picked up each piece in turn and asked Esther whether it was a blicket. I had been indulging my adult (and journalistic) prior bias for recorded observation by filling several pages with notes and diagrams, and I started flipping frantically through my notebook.

I was still looking when Esther, having given maybe three seconds’ thought to the matter, correctly identified all three. The rectangle? “A blicket,” she said. Triangle? A shake of the head: No. Bridge? “A blicket.” A 4-year-old had instantly discerned a rule that I recognized only after Dr. Gopnik explained it to me.

Esther, along with most other 4- and 5-year-olds tested, bested not just me but most of 88 California undergraduates who took the “and” test. We educated grown-ups failed because our prior biases dictated that we play the game by the more common and efficient “or” rule.

“Or” rules apply far more often in actual life, when a thing’s essence seldom depends on another object’s presence. An arrow’s utility may depend on a bow, but its identity as an arrow does not. Since the “or” rule is more likely correct and simpler to use, I grabbed it and clung.

Esther, however, quickly ditched the “or” rule and hit upon the far less likely “and” rule. Such low-probability hypotheses often fail. But children, like adventurous scientists in a lab, will try these wild ideas anyway, because even if they fail, they often produce interesting results.

Esther and her twin brother, Benny (who played another version of the game), generated low-probability hypotheses as fast as I could breathe. “Maybe if you turn it over and put it on the other end!” “Let’s put all three on!” They were hypothesis machines. Their mother, Wendy Wolfson (who is a science writer), told me they’re like this all the time. “It’s like living with a pair of especially inquisitive otters.”

Alas, Dr. Gopnik said, this trait peaks around 4 or 5. After that, we gradually take less interest in seeing what happens and more in getting it right.

Yet this playlike spirit of speculation and exploration does stay with us, both as individuals and as a species. Studies suggest that free, self-directed play in safe environments enhances resilience, creativity, flexibility, social understanding, emotional and cognitive control, and resistance to stress, depression and anxiety. And we continue to explore as adults, even if not so freely. That’s how we got to the Internet, the moon, and Dr. Gopnik’s lab.

Finally, in the long game of evolution, Dr. Gopnik and some of her fellow scientists hypothesize that humans’ extended period of imaginative play, along with the traits it develops, has helped select for the big brain and rich neural networks that characterize Homo sapiens. This may strike you either as a low-probability or a high-probability hypothesis. But it certainly seems worth playing with.