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GDC + VRDC 2019 Session Scheduler

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The Schema is (Still) Mightier than the Sword: How Cognition Predicts Player Spatial Coding Systems

Vanessa Hemovich  (Associate Professor of Psychology, Digipen Institute of Technology)

Location: Room 2001, West Hall

Date: Monday, March 18

Time: 11:20 am - 12:20 pm

Pass Type: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Summits - Get your pass now!

Topic: UX Summit

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: All

Understanding the science of player spatial coding behavior holds a potential wealth of information for game designers. Research in this area illustrates how players learn to navigate game environments through spatial mapping schemas, mental rotation, and feature detection activation for attention-grabbing stimuli. This talk demonstrates how these kinds of spatial coding schemas can be utilized to craft more nuanced approaches to user experiences in game design. This talk is a continuation or "Part 2" from last year's GDC UX Summit talk, "The Schema is Mightier than the Sword" and provides attendees ways to "test" their own cognitive spatial coding schemas.


Attendees will discover how many game design concepts relevant to player spatial mapping, mental rotation, and "pop out" effects are rooted in cognitive psychology. Through a variety of examples, audiences will be introduced to several ways these cognitive principles predict player behavior, attention, and knowledge formation within game environments.

Intended Audience

This talk is a follow-up to last year's popular GDC UX Summit presentation, "The Schema is Mightier than the Sword". Game industry professionals interested in the role of cognitive science to UX are encouraged to attend. No prior knowledge of last year's talk is necessary to attend "Part 2".