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Sept. 2, 2022

E257 - Do video games affect your well-being?

This week on the show, we talk about how we may never know how video games affect our well-being. We also answer some questions from the community about human factors being “too specialized,” the UX research job market being saturated, and workarounds for posting restricted work examples.


Check out the latest from our sister podcast - 1202 The Human Factors Podcast -on Applying Human Factors on the ground - An interview with Suzy Broadbent:

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Transcript

Welcome to Human Factors Cast, your weekly podcast for human factors psychology and design.

 

 

Hello, everybody. This is episode 257. We're recording this episode live on September 1, 2022. This is human factors. Cast I'm your host, Nick Rome, joined today by Mr. Berry. Kirby. Hi there, Nick. How's the weather over in the UK? It's nice. It's actually a lovely warm evening. Quite enjoying it. It's going to change, though. It's going to change all right. Well, I don't even know what the weather's like over here anyway. We're not here for the weather. We're here to talk about how video games might affect our well being. And later we're going to check in with the community and answer some questions about human factors being too specialized, the UX research job market being saturated, and some workarounds for posting restricted work examples. But first hey, did you know that we post weekly roundups on our blog? Well, we also post monthly ones too, and that one is out now. So if you missed any of the Human Factors news over the month of August, go check it out on our blog. Barry, I want to know what's going on over at twelve two. So, twelve Two. We published the interview with Susie Broadband, which is looking at applying human factors on the ground. That real world application of the methods and procedures that we all read in books and want to do them properly, but should give us some guidance and some insights into some of the adoption you have to do to deal with real world examples. But I've gone into a slightly different sphere for the next episode in that I've let somebody else do the interviewing. Now, being a bit of a control oriented person that I am, this was quite a difficult thing to do. But Mike Bait, who is a lecturer in Human Factors at the University of South Wales, used our platform to interview Gordon Dupont, the author of what is commonly known as the Dirty Dozen. And if you don't know much about them, then firstly listen to the next episode. But they're really the twelve elements that influence why people make mistakes he developed these years ago, and they've been a common standpoint going forward. So this has been interesting. It's going to be used in two different ways. Firstly, it's going to be used for the channel for the twelve or two, but it's also going to be used as university content for teachers. So that's been quite a novel experience for me, which I did last week. So that should be going live a week on Monday. So quite looking forward to seeing how that works. Yeah, that'll be awesome to check out. Anyway, let's get to the news.

 

 

That's right, this is the part of the show all about human Factors news. Gary, we got a fun one this week. What's our story? This one is brilliant. So the story is about we may never fully know how video games affect our well being. So for decades, everyone's worried that video games are bad for us. They encourage violent behavior or harm mental health. These fears are spilled over into policy decisions affecting millions of people. So the World Health Organization added gaming disorder to its International Classification of Diseases in 2019, whilst China restricts people under 18 from playing games for more than 3 hours a week in a bid to prevent minors becoming addicted. However, in recent years, a growing body of researchers argued that video games are in fact good for us, improving cognition, relieving stress and bolstering communication skills. The reality, a new study suggests, is we just simply don't have a good grip on how games affect our wellbeing, if at all. The research described in the Royal Society Open Science Journal last month found little to no evidence for a causal connection between gameplay and well being, meaning that the time spent playing video games had neither a negative nor a positive effect on players emotional health. Ultimately, despite researchers best efforts, academics studying games are unlikely to reach a solid conclusion. How the effectors? Says Yamaya Halbrook, a psychology researcher for the Leroy Sport Science Research Lab at the University of Limerick in Ireland. They're going to say once we've been moving away from that slowly over the last decade or so, I don't think there's ever going to be a general consensus. The video games have no positive or negative effect or only a positive effect. It's always going to be those people that say the video games are bad for you and site biased research. We might be able to move them in a direction that says games aren't entirely bad. But I don't think we'll ever get to everybody to agree on a singular point, even if it's complete total fact. People are not like that. So Nick, what do you think? Are you a gaming junkie? Do you think it affects your health in a way, in a positive or a negative way? Yes and yes. So let me start by saying we took this number out of the blurb, but this wasn't just a study of college students. This is a huge study. 38 935 gamers or players. It's a huge study. And I think you're right, this is self reflection here and I'm sure everyone can relate in some way, shape or form, but all things in moderation. And so to me, it doesn't surprise me that I'm trying to avoid that phrase that you have written down in your reaction. But to me it doesn't surprise me that there's inconclusive evidence either way, or that there's sort of this disagreement scientifically about

 

 

which one weighs more. Do the positives outweigh the negatives to the negatives outweigh the positives. And because of that, that's why there's so much stuff around. I'll get into some of the other points I have later. Barry, what is your initial thoughts on this? Yeah, I'm going to dive into straight with ya? It depends. And that's kind of the point, really, isn't it? I think we've had this piece where gaming has evolved over time. So gaming, when I first started, gaming was very simple. The technology was very simple. And whereas now we get increased complexity, increased levels of immersion, and a whole drivethrough around because you've got two different types of gaming as well. You've got gaming on devices that are simple, but then you've got platforms that cost an awful lot of money, giving you a high quality gaming experience, which people invest in. So it goes down to, can we suspend disbelief in the level of the way we immerse ourselves in these games? And what effect does that have on well being? Because we know that we need to change, we need to have a bit of a change. We need to have a break from the work that we're doing. And so does a little playing a little game on your phone actually help you do that? Having some games on your computer from simple things like maybe Solitaire and things like that, all the way through to multiplayer games that you can play for maybe an hour out of your day, or if I get going, there may be a few more hours than that, then there's something ready. But really what this is leading to is we need to have another study. There's going to be more studies on this. There's going to be lots of studies giving us the conclusion that we need another study. I've spent a lot of time doing work in the blend of live and synthetic training for the military, and inevitably, I've done studies that you do one study, you come with it with an answer, and then somebody else says, oh, well, we need to study to do that. And I've kind of done the same study over and over again for quite a number of years. So this sort of feels a bit like that. But I'm pleased that there's some bits out there that you're quite right to point out that number, that's a significant number of engagement, which I think will give us some really good bits to discuss. Yeah, there's so much with this article. I don't even know, truthfully, where to begin with this. I think maybe what we can start with is just our general experience with gaming and sort of what our habits are. So that way everyone has a little bit more of a frame of reference from where we're coming from with respect to some of these claims here in this article. So for me, right now, I'm an everyday gamer. There are periods of time where I am a once every seven, eight months gamer. Right now I'm an everyday gamer because I just got a new consul and I have a bunch of games to catch up on because it wasn't available for a very long time. So that's where I'm at. And I've been spending several hours in the evening doing so over the last, I guess, couple of weeks. So that's where I'm at. I do sort of know that everything in moderation, right? But that's where I'm at. I wouldn't consider myself a hardcore gamer, but definitely one that enjoys gaming. Okay. Not a fake gamer. So I'm less of a hardcore gamer in that respect. Yes, we do have a couple of platforms, but I tend not to use them. I will spend a fair bit of time playing games on my phone, things like that. I've got a current moderation problem with the online game balance at the moment. That's one of my go to games at the moment. I will play that maybe once a day or a couple of times a day, which is just because it's simple enough for me to engage with. But actually the online multiplayer game, I think it's really slick, but I'm not down to the picking up a gaming platform and spending loads of time on that anymore. I've sort of gone through that platform phase. I think though I'm liking a lot more of the VR stuff. So like Oculus Rift and things like that. Oculus Quest, sorry. I'll experiment with them, but I don't think I'm necessarily going to put out hours of my day to go and to go and engage with it. However, I've done an awful lot of research around it and like I said in the intro, but the way that we use Sirius gaming with it for training and things like that, I've spent probably a couple of decades researching into and utilizing that might be a reason why I don't actually play games so much is because I've done so much work on them. Then it may be feels like a bit of a working task as well as that. So maybe maybe this is proving to be a bit of a reflective section in that sense. Oh man. When games feel like work. So I want to jump into sort of the central crux of this article and really I think why we'll never have that definitive answer, or at least in the near future we won't have that definitive answer. Because to me there's two things, right? We're talking about mental well being as it relates to playing video games and really is it good or bad for the soul? It's kind of the question, right? That is the hypothesis. And there are some good things with video games, obviously mentioned some of them in the blurb, but I'm going to go through a list here, right? For me, it's quite a meditative experience and I've actually talked to my therapist about this. It allows me to clear my mind entirely of the world's problems and that's escapism. But it also allows me to get into a flow. It helps me relax, calm down from the day. It also helps with sort of concentration. I can focus in on a task someone with ADHD, that's really helpful to have something to focus in on and have something to do where you feel passionate about it. It also just makes me feel better so we can improve your mood. And really, like I said, it helps me unwind. At the end of the day, I wait till my son's asleep and then I pull out the controller and play for a couple of hours and it's just decompressing over the day.

 

 

If you think about, wellbeing, there's tie backs to some of the stuff that we talked about before, like how can we better define mental health? That was an episode that we did. It was episode 236 for anyone who wants to go back and listen to it. But really we're talking more about mental health in the sense of sort of exercising your mind rather than thinking of it as like a patch, right? A patch to solve the problem. And so I think when you're thinking about sort of this mental well being with video games, it is sort of the same thing. You got to exercise your mind and control to be able to play and experience these things like flow, relaxation, concentration, but not become so addicted to it that it starts to have some of those detrimental effects. There's also other mental wellbeing things that can sort of stick out here. I'm thinking like empathy, compassion for non player characters or player characters for that matter. You mentioned that a lot of games nowadays are very sort of narrative driven and you can have these emotional connections to characters. I'm playing a story right now that I'm feeling pretty connected to the characters. They spend a lot of time developing these relationships and you're like, okay, I feel like I really know these people because you spend so much time with them. In fact, we have another episode that you go check out on a eyes being companionship. That was episode 240. We talked about AI girlfriends and so go check that out. But that's the positive side, right? There's also this whole other negative side. Barry, I know you've done studies on this. I want to get your opinion on this. Yeah. How is your AI girlfriend? Is she okay? I haven't talked to her in months. When did we do that episode?

 

 

Some people would be quite happy about that. But you're right. A lot of things have been highlighted as an outcome of using video games and online gaming. And some of that is around things like you get that enhanced hit of dopamine, particularly when you're doing games that require a lot of activity and reaching goals and doing that type of thing. So you get a dubbed me an addiction. If you're spending all your time on your insert proper gaming platform here. If you're spending all your time on the gaming platform. Then how does that affect your relationship. Your real world or what people classes. Real world relationships now with your partners. With your housemates. If your students. With your family. With your children and things like that there is no girlfriends. Not your girlfriend. I think they will be fine. At what point do they start bugging you? You've got some physical health related risks as well because you are doing most of these sedentary gaming chairs are getting much better and things like that. You can spend a lot more money on doing that type of thing and the ability to get some sort of articulation at home. So like moving platform is becoming cheaper but I would still wouldn't say it's accessible. But you're largely sitting down playing these things so you're not getting out and you're not doing exercise as such which is we all agree as much as I don't do as much as I should, is a good thing to be doing. You can get this exposure to environments that you are not necessarily going to get exposure to so toxic environments and things like that. Once you're doing this, are you doing it the most appropriate time? Because actually if you're meant to be studying or you're meant to be working or in my case maybe you should be writing a report and something like that and I'll just take five minutes out. You crack on and your five minutes ends up being an hour ends up being I'll just do one more 2 hours and if you can't bound it properly then it can end up being a problem. It's almost like anything else as well. Why are you using the gaming? Is it all the positive stuff that you alluded to earlier, naked around you're, using it to improve your mental health and things? Or are you just trying to escape the real world? Are you trying to do things that just don't exist at the moment? So there's an interesting bit where people will point out a lot of these problems. You could argue that actually is that down to gaming or is that down to just the people who are doing it? And actually if the gaming wasn't there then there'll be another outlook for them because before gaming came along in such a way, the same was said for actual just TV of itself, the use of violent movies, the greater use of sex with movies and things like that. People are highlighting that with pretty much exactly the same arguments and so there is something bigger at play there. That means that there is a narrative around us being sat down and busy taking screen based engagement. Yeah, I think the big difference and the thing that scares some people is the interactivity, right? The TV is passive, video games are very active and so there's this concern that you play violent video games and I made the comment in our preshow that I live here in the states and you could go and the Second Amendment is a thing anyway, so that's a concern right. And is it a valid concern? It depends. It depends on the person. I think ultimately that's what we're coming down to is that this largely depends on the individual, their tendencies and how they react to certain stimuli. I. E. Video Game in this circumstance it's like should you regulate it in some way, shape or form to where more addictive personalities are time based? And I think you can sort of see some of this stuff. With parental controls, parents are able to go in and limit how much their kids can play in a day. You can say okay, only 1 hour or 2 hours or whatever your threshold is. I do want to follow up on one thing that you were talking about with the negatives here, the toxic environments. And I want to elaborate a little bit on what that can do for somebody's mental health. You go into comment section on any YouTube video or you hear somebody on the other end saying really terrible things about your mother. There's consequences to that at some point. Do you fight back with those same words because it's easy and that behavior has been modeled for you? Or do you sort of engage in the behavior where you report that and

 

 

you should be able to do that very easily, right? Because the barrier to entry for that should be less than the barrier entry to reciting those things back to the other person or anything like that. And so those toxic cultures can really sort of over time if you're in a group of these things, it can have groupthink effect on you and that's no good either because then you're just creating more of the problem. So just wanted to follow up on that. There's a couple of extra things that we can dig into here as it relates to mental health. And I was starting to allude to it a little bit with parental controls. But if you think about the way that the youngsters are growing up these days, they're actually using video games as a social hub. They're using video games as a way to socialize with other people. It's kind of like a bar but for children. Instead of alcohol you're looking at epic shoulder pads of friendship or whatever. So really we're looking at these situations where you have children engaging with each other in these sometimes collaborative, sometimes competitive environments. And from what I've seen anecdotal evidence, of course it's pretty healthy in most cases. It's just a part of life that they've experienced. So you have these kids just playing Minecraft with other kids, building stuff together, socializing and then you also have the ones where maybe they're competing against each other in like a fighting game or something and then you have sort of this mutual respect for each other afterwards. And that is healthy. That is healthy. That's where my mind is at. Like I think I'm leaning definitely good thing and I don't know if that's biased because I game myself. Anyway, where do you well, I mean just to always continue with that to a certain extent, it goes back to the evolution of gaming as well. So when you looked at gaming in the mid 90s, they were all sort of arcade based one to one fighters. Team play wasn't really a thing because the technology just didn't make it work when you looked at the MMRPG. So the mass multiplayer games, they were very script driven, the graphic fidelity was really low, you couldn't actually talk to anybody. It was very techdriven and things like that. As you evolved through the early two thousand s, the games that you get now have got so much more facility within them. The fidelity of the game and the tasks that you're trying to largely complete are much broader. So you're not just going from starting point A, walking across the horizontally across the screen, beating up a boss and getting a goal. The game is richer. But also you've got this idea of communications platform underpinning it all. Which is largely based on voice. So you can actually talk to each other. You can be collaborative. You can work together to achieve the common goal and you can share opinions and then as you quite rightly say. More people are using it as a platform to discuss and maybe the game is slightly some respects turning into an aside where they're actually talking about it. People are streaming their own gaming performance on other platforms and sharing how to do things. So the whole game environment has evolved and when I was doing work around digital native. Digital immigrants and that type of thing. Another category of subcategory of people came up. Which was gaming native or game natives. Where people who grew up and are just playing games and are so used to that are game native people more like me who maybe come and try and play games and engage with things like that are more gaming immigrants in that respect. But it's becoming an evolution and then there will be, I suspect when the augmented reality, the virtual reality games do because they're still sort of on that brink of being brilliant, but they're not quite brilliant yet. When they become brilliant, then I think you'll have then another revolution again. So then you'd be looking at really player one, that type of interaction. So yeah, it's interesting to see the evolution. We've seen exactly the same evolution with social media, we've seen the same evolution with the internet in general and it's all about connectivity and talking and we're just doing it on a much bigger and broader basis. We're not bounded by the physical constraints that we've had historically. Like your neighbors, the people who live in your street, the people who go to your school, the people who go to your workplace, you've got opportunities to engage on a much broader basis that we just never had before. Yeah, I think that's right. And you're also like you were saying, the community is growing and I think you're seeing this increasing number of spaces designed around these in person hubs for gaming. Right. You have gaming cafes, gaming bars, lounges, other social events where you have people in the same physical space doing things. And you mentioned the Metaverse too. This is happening in the metaverse. It's happening in a virtual environment as well where you are designing these spaces with the intent of having this interaction with others socially. And so yeah, we're seeing this sort of huge shift from being a single person experience to the shift has already happened. But even more so, I think as games become more ubiquitous, you're sort of seeing that shift even further into incorporating it into a part of our everyday lives. Not just for the people who consider themselves gamers, but even for people who might just play I say just play something on mobile like Candy Crush or whatever. I consider those people gamers. That is a video game that you're playing in your hand. And I think gatekeeping those types of people is bad, obviously toxic. But when you think about those type of people having sort of words of friends with another really big one a couple of years ago, ten years ago

 

 

anyway, you have these other sort of highly social games that sort of have these connections that you can build. Now. I want to take a minute to talk about sort of social opinion and how that has changed over time because we have a comment on our chat tonight from Lockhalache on Twitch. They say I'm excited for the main story this week. I'm actually doing some work on video games and effect on social opinions. This is more of a video game as a social activist medium and it's effect on political opinions in the short term. It's been interesting. I'd be interested in hearing more about the violence work. So that's in reference to a comment that Barry was making in the pre show. Do you want to talk first about the violence work and then we can kind of go up and do the social stuff? Yeah. So from the engineering side of things as well, it's around how do we use this type of engineering? Gaming engineering for training. And so we've done some fair amount of work or the military has done a fair amount of work around the world, around utilizing gaming technologies to train people to perform warfighter capabilities, be that pilot, be that soldier, be that sailor, all the different things so everybody will be aware of things. Games that allow you to be within a flight simulator or being part of a special ops team and things like that. All of them have got such a high level of fidelity now that there's a lot of people rolling up to recruitment centers who already know how to use weapons for example, they've never actually touched one. But because of the inbuilt gameplay that they do, they already know how to utilize a weapon. They might have a really good understanding already of tactics or how to utilize a tank, how to fly the basics of an aircraft, how you would do that type of thing. And to the point that when we've done studies around, what do people expect when they come and join the Air Force, for example, there was always a common misconception that everybody wanted to join the Air Force to fly because historically, that's what people do. They want to become a pilot, they want to fly an aircraft. They don't want to fly these simulators. That's just silly. But then now that's all switched. The people who are joining, they've generally been gamers one way or another in their time. And so they're coming and said, why do I fly an aircraft first? Why don't I learn on the simulator when I can make mistakes, get it all wrong and all that type of stuff, and then go and fly the aircraft when I've got a level of confidence? And it's now you're getting that social acceptance of that going all the way through. And so there's a whole lot of that going on which, yes, it's using gaming to basically deliver violence one way or another, but it's an interesting way of using that and there's no reason why that can't be used in other domains as well, such as nuclear safety, like learning how to control your nuclear reactor. Or we've seen games around surgery, so doing slightly funnier games around, doing different types of surgery, but actually you get some quite serious ones that take you step by step how to do transplants and things like that. We could be pushing this type of technology into that type of domain, making people who come to learn to become doctors and things like that, actually with maybe some level of skill already. Yeah, we're getting into sort of different from the social aspect, so let's loop around back to that. But I want to continue this thread as you're talking about training and education, because there's some really interesting things going on here. There's sort of this procedural based approach versus a knowledgebased approach where you have sort of training someone how to do something step by step. That might be how to fly a plane in a flight simulator. Like you said, you flip this switch, then you flip that switch, you look at these things and then you hit the throttle, right? So that's procedural. And so when somebody gets into a plane, they know to do all those things. Then there's the knowledge based approach where you can also mix and match these. By the way, this is not mutually exclusive. You also have things where you might learn about some controls in an airplane. I'm going to keep with that example, but you also might have other types of. Games that inform you how to do something right. You can see educational games out there, things for children like learning numbers, letters, shapes, music, math, all these things are you can do them through games. In fact, my son has a toy that sings at him and plays like a shapes game on a remote. You also have other types of games that engage people in certain circumstances. So we did not study we did an episode on a study that was looking at inflight safety instructions and how that communicates process and education to the passengers of that plane. It told them the process. So I'm jumping back and forth here between knowledge and process. But ultimately what we're looking at here is that using games as a medium for training and education actually works best when you have some sort of engagement from the player rather than just sort of this passive instruction, which is why it's such a powerful thing when you have that interaction. I alluded to it at the top. TV is passive. Video games are active. It's an active experience where you are interacting with this world. And so if you have sorry, you're seeing more and more domains accept video games into the process by which they do things right. I mentioned the airplane safety training video. If you want to go listen to that episode 214, I've listed a bunch of episodes that you can go back and reference because all of them tie into this one episode. It's a nice theme. You also have some of these space simulators, flight simulators. Simulations are basically games. Come on, let's be honest here. And then you can do fun things in them that you can't do in real life, like fly a Cessna upside down and 737 upside down, all that stuff. You also have other applications of it where maybe a workplace will have a game night focused around a team building exercise and you have a game there that encourages teamwork or encourages some friendly competition interaction, socialization amongst their workers, right? So I'm thinking something like the Jackbox games where you have everybody sort of engaging with a centralized platform and there's sort of this social element where you need to be engaged in what's going on. They've hijacked your phone and so you can't look at your phone while you're doing any of this, you're forced to be engaged in that situation. And so there are other applications out there that are looking into this. So I wanted to bring all that up. Do you have any comments on that before we head over to the social side? Because I do want to make sure we loop around that comment. No, let's go and hit the social side because otherwise I think we'll never get out of here because there's so much I could just keep on talking about. But yes, it is great. Right, so we talked a little bit about sort of this overarching perception from the public on video games. But then this comment here specifically is looking at social activism within video games. So you have like propaganda posters in war games or something along those lines, or you have more and more companies taking a stance now on sort of progressivism, social justice, that type of thing. Like, for example, just a couple of weeks ago, there was a modification for a Spider Man game that removed Pride flags from the game and the host of the mod site basically said, no, we're not doing that. We're taking that mod down because you're an idiot, don't do that. Right? So you have more and more of these types of situations happening where you have social activism within the game. And this also opens up the discussion for is video games art? It absolutely is. Let's squash that right away. But that art then conveys sort of the collective vision of the people who worked on it. And so when you have those Pride flags in Spiderman, that is a collective decision from that studio, from that company that have put those in there as an active choice to express their support for the LGBTQIA P community. Like, that is that is so cool to me that that can happen now. It's just sort of combating this toxic environment may be encouraging it in some cases, but I would like to hope that it's combating that toxic environment more than contributing to it. Do you have any thoughts on that, Barry? I kind of hijacked that conversation. Yeah, I just wonder when I was going to be able to get a word, because you're right, but it goes back to kind of what we said before in terms of the way the games have evolved. So you got the game itself, it's got a narrative, it's got a background, and there is lots of opportunity for the game designers, the game developers, to put their messaging, whatever their messaging is, and liberally put it through. Now they can either put it very physically in front of you or subliminal messaging and things like that about how to think. So that's at one level where they've got an ability to because I guess games are more storytelling now as well, is that we expect more of a narrative, we expect a bit of immersion, therefore they have an opportunity to be able to do that. And whilst I haven't seen it yet, how long is it going to be before we get like, say, campaign sponsored games or campaign Boltons for large multiplayer games, where a campaign maybe for, I don't know, presidency or something could sponsor a Bolton and it becomes part of the narrative. So that's the one half, then the other half is, as we've said already, it is a communications platform. And so from that perspective, there's a lot of work being done around how the social media work with political campaigning or any sort of really campaigning around social justice or anything like that. So how does social media work in that respect? This is now another platform where it's almost exclusively younger members of society who is the hardest demographic to be able to message to currently. This opens itself up as an ideal platform to be able to get in and get messaging to that type of that cohort, that bunch of individuals. So I don't think it's necessarily been leveraged very much at the moment in this respect. But I don't think it's going to be a million miles away as soon as people realize how to leverage it. And that's the key to it to a certain extent. Because if you just rock up into a game that you probably never played before and start throwing out messages of pro such and such a candidate, then you're going to be called out for what you are and largely ignored and probably booted off the platform. It's how you do it in a more subtle way that yields greater results. And we saw that all the way through the social media side of things. And there's some interesting bits being done around what President Obama did around when they make great use of text messaging and then initial social media and things like that. And that was a real revolution in of itself. This is possibly that next level of revolution about how to leverage this type of stuff. So it'd be interesting to see how it develops. Yeah, I kind of want to end it there. Do you have any other loose ends that you want to talk about before we I have one and really it's all about what we call them County Valley. And that is basically that element of disbelief that you have around the engagement. The game that you're playing, does it respond to real life? Is it around real life? Most people when they're playing games, recognize the playing games because this thing of young County Valley, they know that they're playing a game because they're not totally immersed and it recognizes a difference. And that will always be the dividing line between gaming and real life. The more we shrink that and make that disappear and that's more around your VR, gaming and things like that, then I think that's when we're going to start hitting different types of issues. But at the moment that still exists pretty much everywhere and that's going to be the biggest challenge to hit. Yeah. My sort of closing thought on this and the reason why it all depends so much and why this is such a significant study, I think that's kind of what I want to end with. First off, I'll mention what games they used. So they used Animal Crossing. New Horizons. Apex legends. Eve online forza Horizon, for grand tourismo. Sport outriders. And the crew, too. Not so much the significance of what games they chose to use, but the significance of the data source that they got them from. So this data actually originated and was provided directly from the games publishers, which is really a hard thing to do when you think about it. The vast majority of video game studies rely on these self report measures from gamers, and so this is hard data that they're getting directly from the publishers, and that is awesome. And that's why this is so significant, is because we're really seeing different patterns from different types of people. And it depends. All right, so with that, we just want to thank our patrons this week for selecting our news topic. And thank you to our friends over at MIT Tech Review for our new story this week. If you want to follow along, we do post links to all the original articles on our weekly roundups and our monthly roundups on our blog. You can also join us on our discord for more discussion on these stories and much more. We're going to take a quick break and we'll be back to see what's going on in the Human Factors community right after this. Human Factors Cast brings you the best in Human Factors news interviews, conference coverage and overall fun conversations into each and every episode we produce. But we can't do it without you. The human factors. Cast network is 100% listener supported. All the funds that go into running the show come from our listeners. Our patrons are our priority and we want to ensure we're giving back to you for supporting us. Pledges started just one dollars per month and include rewards like access to our weekly Q and A's with the hosts personalized professional reviews and Human Factors Minute, a Patreon only weekly podcast where the host breakdown unique, obscure and interesting Human Factors topics in just 1 minute. Patreon rewards are always evolving, so stop by Patreon.com Humanfactorscast to see what support level may be right for you. Thank you. And remember, it depends. Yes, sincere. Huge thank you as always to our patrons. We especially want to thank our honorary Human Factors cast staff patron Michelle Tripp. Patrons like you truly keep the show running. Keep it going. I want to take a minute to talk about what Patreon supporters help pay for behind the scenes, because I don't think it's immediately obvious. We put out a thing every week. It's an audio platform, but we also have video. We need to pay for the tools in which we use to record the video and distribute that video. But we also use the video as the recording. My cat is making a cadio on the video right now as we speak. So if you were to watch us on those platforms, you could see my cat anyway, it also helps us host the podcast itself. That costs money. We have a website that we need to keep up and running. We have automation behind the scenes that really helps us keep track of some things. We have a whole lab that you're supporting really and there's products and services that assist with some of the audio and video production that we have going on here behind the scenes. All that to say, those who financially support us are really financially supporting us. There's a lot that we have to take care of and that help truly helps a lot. So thank you. All right, I've growled enough for your money. So I think we should get into the next part of the show.

 

 

That's right. This is the part of the show called It Came From. We searched all over the Internet to bring you topics the community is talking about. If you find any of these answers useful or if you like this cat that keeps so lovingly headbutting me, give us a like wherever you're watching to help other people find this content. We got three of them up tonight, a rarity, but we have a couple of them from the Human Factor subreddit, so we're going to go with those first. This first one here is from DX by Dy on the Human Factor subreddit, they write, Is Human Factors two specialized? They write, I'm currently an undergrad studying mechanical engineering and I'm super interested in Human Factors. I've been talking to a few of my professors to ask them their advice on my graduate school plans, and one of them told me she thinks Human Factors is, quote, too specialized of a field and I should pick something, quote, more general in order to avoid limiting myself too much. I thought this was kind of strange since not only is the whole point of graduate school to specialize in something, but Human Factors is such a versatile field that it applies to literally every industry. I'm curious as to what people think is Human Factors really too specialized? Barry, I think your professor needs to go out and do some their own research. No, your professor's wrong, quite frankly. Human factors isn't too specialized. It is a unique field. But that's because, and we sort of alluded to this in the pre show that the human fact is one of these topics that literally reaches out into every single aspect, aspect of engineering, of science and all that because it is an interface between us and technology and that it exists everywhere you can apply it. In fact, I would say it goes further. That's why we struggle to define it really well, is because it is so ubiquitous. So yeah, short form of that is their own and Human Factors is a great thing to study and I thoroughly encourage you to go and do that. They're very wrong. They're very wrong. It is the sort of psychology, engineering jack of all trades quote, right. It's jack of all trades, master of none, but often times better than a master of one. And I think when you talk about specialties yeah, no, it's not super specialized. There's obviously an underlying set of principles and methodology that you follow and understanding about the world that you subscribe to, but you can take that and apply it to any sort of domain. Process, procedure, the five P's, six PS, whatever the PS are, process products, procedure, all that stuff. And so, no, it's not specialized, it's the opposite. It's completely the opposite. Yes. Anyway, nothing else to say about that one. Let's get into this next one here. This one is by PECO Yama on the Human Factor subreddit, they write UX research saturated. I'm an undergraduate student and I'm planning on focusing my concentration on human factors. I heard about UX design and it seemed really exciting and something I might enjoy as a career. However, I'm a bit worried that it's a bit more saturated because all the people who are doing boot camps for it. I do plan to go to graduate school, but I'm just conflicted if this is the route I possibly want to go to due to the Saturation and unsure how to really stand out. In that case, would you agree that the market is saturated and is it going to get harder or more competitive in the future? Should I be worried or am I overthinking it? Barry overthinking it. Next. Give that consideration. This is so firstly, in my mind, UX is a subset of human factors. Human Factors is a very broad domain. So if you're going to go and do look at human factors, you will learn about a lot more than just UX is a large domain in of itself, but with the HF around it, there is a broad range of stuff you can go into and that will allow you to go into a broad range of industries. We've discussed things about boot camps and stuff before. Boot camps for me, gives you a good introduction to things. They don't necessarily give the depth and breadth of something to give you a true mastering of the art, as it were. So if you're looking to do a degree in it, then you will get much more than just what a boot camp can give you when you become saturated in the UK, there are literally there's loads and loads and loads of jobs out there for human factors people. We've just thrown a new we've opened up three positions ourselves and we're a very small consultancy there and almost every HF consultancy I know is crying out for HF people at the moment in the States. I'm fairly sure it's not too dissimilar because the nature of the way things are, but I'm sure Nickel gives an update in a second. But fundamentally, there's loads of jobs out there. I can't see it going any other way but up in that respect, and it's a fantastic domain to come and work in. So get on with your degree and come and join us. Nick, what's it like in the US? Yeah, you're right, there are plenty of jobs out there. I will say that sort of the competition is at the senior level right now because you have this entry level I wouldn't say Saturation people think they can get away with those boot camps, and I wanted to comment on that. Boot camps aren't a way to kickstart. It can kick start you sure? I don't know. It's like taking a weekend course and expecting to be a surgeon. You can't I'm comparing us to surgeons. That's not true. We way better than surgeons.

 

 

Now, keep it in. Keep it in. Look, here's the thing. It'll get you so far, but it's the experience that you have doing something, working on projects or working in a tangential field with transferable skills, that can also be another way to sort of break in. And so you have actually a lot of people doing that right now, where they're trying to transfer these skills into UX because there is a demand, and that demand is quite lucrative in some cases. So that's why a lot of people are transitioning to it. And so over time, yeah, we're probably going to fill up because you have folks who want to get into the field and are excited about it, but then you also have people who are getting discouraged about it and want to leave. So UX is a burnout. UX, the field is a burnout. Human Factors is a little different, but UX can be a burnout for some people just based on the way that companies handle it. UX at the moment, I think it's fair to say it's trendy at the moment. Yeah, it's really popular. There's something about it that feels really Pzazz and really cool in that respect that will get taken over by something else trendy maybe five or ten years down the line, because that's just the nature of the way the domains evolve and that type of thing. Specifically around UX, I think that, yes, you're right, it's not high turnover, but it's almost explosive in the way that it's all developed and gone. But that's why definitely go down the HF route. You will get UX in there, but you will learn the broader domain. Yeah. All right, let's get into this last one. This one's fun. This one's by Hyper hoshiko on the user Experience subreddit. They're saying work around, posting work examples. I'm looking to add more UX to my portfolio, though. I'm not allowed to post work examples from my job. Could I work around this by using pseudo examples, such as saying this is a website that promotes X, Y, and Z, but change the name and designs as well? Barry and I think this is a larger question. How do you get around NDAs or instances where you can't necessarily share what type of thing you're working on, ie. Defense with classification issues and that type of thing? How do you get around that issue? It's not easy. No, I'm not going to because I think a lot of the work that I've done, you're talking not just about what's on the screen, but the physical aspects and the trials that you've done and things like that. It can be quite difficult to do sometimes. I mean, I've worked on some project that there's some stuff in the public domain, so that's fine. Some of the examples that we talk about on this podcast, I have to sort of box clever with what I'm saying. I can say that I've worked on platforms like the Harrier, the Tornado, the Typhoon and things like that, but I can't really go into too much detail about exactly what so you can describe the type of things that you've done. So I would describe maybe the processes I've been through to get there, the types of systems that maybe I've developed. So I've developed a lot of mapping displays, I've developed a lot of communications displays and so you can elude a lot from that. But I can't exactly say, look, he's the exact design document I wrote because it tends to be classified. But I guess in the US we all know about classified documents at the moment as well, so let's not worry too much about that. There is ways of talking around things. I think you get more used to doing that the more you do it and you understand what it is. You can talk about what it is, you can't I mean, I'll be honest, I don't have a huge amount of experience because most jobs I've gone for have been in the same sort of domain and so you can talk about it to a certain extent. If I was going to go to an absolutely new domain, I sort of tried to do that once and be honest, I kind of crashed and burned because it was so difficult to try and translate what I did. Even though there was a direct translation, I couldn't really translate it because of the defense nature going into a completely civilian environment. So it's difficult. But I think in maybe the UX world you've got a bit more insight than I have, nick yes, and I think that's right. So first off, I want to say being able to show something isn't necessarily what I'm looking for. If I'm going to hire you, I'm looking for you to describe your process and you to describe how you would approach problems. And I think that's probably the better way to approach that whole question is talk about process. Talk about challenges that you've encountered without sort of if you can talk about them under NDA. Some NDAs are really strict, although I haven't ran into anybody who signed an NDA that said I can't talk about my UX process. I know a couple of people who say they can't talk about how a company has established a process, but their individual process is kind of fine because everyone kind of subscribes to the same thing. If you insist on showing a work example, you could always replace the images. So I don't remember where I saw this or heard this. Somebody who designs a porn site, obviously I can't put that on your portfolio. But what they did to get around that issue was they replaced every thumbnail with a cat picture and every video with a cat video, at least to show the final design. So that way you can see what type of work they did and they talked about it from a cat video perspective. They just translated it into something else that's a little bit more palatable for a job interview. So take that for example, I guess. Anyway, that's it where it came from. And now one more thing. Talk about one more thing. Barry, what's your One More thing this week? So, exciting news this week. The Anonymous has been published and it landed on my doorstep and it has an article in it that's talking about sending AI and the reason that's exciting. Doesn't that sound a bit familiar to you? Familiar? Yeah. Because we had an episode on it a few weeks ago and out of that where we talked about Google's AI and whether it actually truly got sentient or not. I worked with Dr. Mark Sajan and worked up an article on it as part of the AI and Digital Healthcare Special Interest group. And lo and behold, and okay, use this for the podcast but for great on the video, the article London and it all looks there and in it we mentioned Human Factors cast and the illustrious leader Nick Rome himself as inspiring the article. And yeah, so it's nice to see almost good linkage together of the stuff that we've talked about, inspiring another conversation and driving out an article for the Human Factor community to read. Well, I got to be honest Barry, I didn't have you inflating my ego on my Human Factors CAS bingo card tonight. So thank you. No, that's super cool. I'm looking forward to getting my copy. My one more thing this week. Oh boy, am I excited to talk about this. So I'm investing now in political futures and what that means is that you are essentially putting in stakes to say that one outcome will happen over another. And so I put down some money over the last couple of weeks on Biden's approval rating and the Alaska special election. And let's just say that the odds for the way it works is that you buy in anywhere from one cent to ninety nine cents. And let's just say they were very low buy in for them to go a certain way. Right. Biden's approval number, certain number. And the special election going to Mary Patola, who's a Democrat in a very red well, not very red state, but Trump plus ten district state. And so I thought, you know what, there's a long shot it's very low cost of entry. I thought I'll throw around $20 or so, maybe a little more but with that, such low stakes. Well, yesterday Mary Portola won in Alaska and Biden's approval rating made it to where I thought it was going to be, and so I got an 800% return. Nice. Insane. That's a lot of percentages. And so it's so rewarding because a couple of weeks ago I talked about how I've been keeping up with politics so intimately, it's almost a sickness at this point. But because of that, I'm able to sort of sense the direction in which things are going, and I feel like I have more of an understanding about that than I do about stocks. And so anyway, I'm going to go with this. That's my one more thing this week. And that's it for today, everyone. If you like this episode, enjoy some of the discussion about virtual environments and what kissing might do for your mental wellbeing. And VR, maybe go check out that episode or most popular episode 246. Let's kiss and VR. Comment. Wherever you're listening what you think of the story this week. For more in depth discussion, you can always join us on our Discord community. Visit our official website, sign up for our newsletter. Stay up to date with all the latest Human Factors news. If you like what you hear, you want to support the show? There's a couple of ways you can do that. One, wherever you're at right now, you can like the video or leave us a five star review. Two, you can tell your friends about us. That word of mouth really helps us grow. If you're sitting by the water cooler and talk about Human Factors, let them know, hey, Human Factors podcast pretty good. Or if you have the financial means to, we will take your money. It will help support the show. I told you all the things it goes towards, and honestly, we truly are thankful for that. As always, links to all of our socials and our website are in the description of this episode. I want to thank Mr. Barry Kirby for being on the show today. Where can our listeners go and find you if they want to get your gamer tag? Yeah, okay. You can find me on the social media advisor. Okay. Or if you want to come in and do some interviews with key people in the Human Factors universe, then come find me on Twelve the Humanfactorspodcast at Twelve two Podcast.com. As for me, I've been your host. Nick Rome. You can find me on our discord and across social media at nickrome. Thanks again for tuning into Human Factors cast. Until next time.

 

 

Barry Kirby Profile Photo

Barry Kirby

Managing Director

A human factors practitioner, based in Wales, UK. MD of K Sharp, Fellow of the CIEHF and a bit of a gadget geek.