PI: Norah Dunbar
University of California-Santa Barbara
This project will develop and study an interactive game entitled VERITAS for making players aware of their cognitive bias in decision making and attempting to mitigate its effects. The game focuses on detecting deception and many of the research participants are from law enforcement.
Heuristics are cognitive shortcuts acquired from existing beliefs and past experiences. Heuristics and cognitive biases affect virtually every judgment being made in daily life. Humans often perform no better than chance when attempting to distinguish truths from deception and tend to be over-confident in their ability to detect deception. They are rarely aware of their own biases and are resistant to traditional training efforts aimed at changing decision-making processes. There are few studies verifying our ability to mitigate cognitive biases. This project will explore using game-based learning to make people aware of cognitive biases and reduce their reliance on simple heuristics. The project asserts that the experiential environment afforded by game-based learning should be particularly effective at facilitating the introspection necessary for learners to actively experiment with more systematic decision-making techniques. It will experimentally test the effectiveness of a game-based training program targeting law enforcement officials. This research integrates a theory-driven design using multiple research methods, including observation of behavior during game play, surveys, interviewing, and experimentation. This project will contribute to the understanding of how cognitive biases function within the context of deception detection and will advance understanding of how a game may be better suited than traditional learning methods at mitigating cognitive biases. Results will be disseminated through convention exhibitions and journal publications and the team plans to showcase this game at professional conferences with game developers, law enforcement officials, and the general public.