Saturday, May 15, 2010

Harvard Panel: Evolutionary Biology Looks At Videogames

Who plays games (and Serious Games) and why

Via: Harvard Alumni Affairs & Development (AA&D)

Who Plays Games and Why: Evolutionary Biology Looks at Videogames

Wednesday, June 2, 2010
5:30-7:30 pm. (registration begins at 5:00 pm.)

Science Center
One Oxford Street
Cambridge, MA

The Harvard Alumni Association invites you to a panel session: a discussion with Harvard Human Evolutionary Biology Professor Richard Wrangham, Emmanuel College Psychology Professor Joyce Benenson, and game developers Noah Falstein and Kent Quirk.

Electronic games are competing with television for that essential resource: consumer attention. But exactly who is playing these games? And what is their appeal? Indeed, why do people find games “fun” at all, from simple board games to immersive 3D fantasy worlds? Is there a biological reason that males and females play dramatically different kinds of games?

The many genres and formats of games will be surveyed in a brief multimedia overview, with a look at the different populations that play these different games. Then, human-behavioral scientists will collaborate with game-design professionals to explore the biological roots of our attraction to these experiences.

Panelists include:

Noah Falstein, President, The Inspiracy (design and production of entertainment and Serious Games).

Richard Wrangham, Harvard College Professor, Ruth B. Moore Professor of Biological Anthropology, Director of Graduate Studies of Harvard's Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, author of Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence.

Joyce Benenson, Associate Professor of Psychology at Emmanuel College, and Associate Member of Harvard's Department of Human Evolutionary Biology.

Kent Quirk, Director of Engineering for Client Software, Linden Lab (creators of the “Second Life” virtual world).

Dan Scherlis (moderator), Principal, (executive production and market strategy for online games and social media).

Alumni and friends of the Harvard community: $10
Undergraduate Students: complimentary
Register here

To register, Non-Harvard attendees should call the main Harvard Alumni Association number, at 617-495-1093, or