The placebo effect in digital games: Phantom perception of adaptive artificial intelligence

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Play-testing of digital games is a crucial part of any game development process, used to gather feedback about the game and correct any existing and potential flaws with the design. However, due to the nature of human subject testing, the feedback being collected in such experiments is prone to biases. Players' expectations play a great role in dictating their gaming experience, which means the information players receive before trying a new game, as well as the knowledge they already possess, may affect their perception and experience of the game. Two studies were conducted in order to evaluate how priming players to expect a game technology can positively influence their experience. The results supported the hypothesis that even basic instructions can change players' perception of the game, and lead to a higher level of perceived immersion when knowing that the game contains an improved feature, the adaptive artificial intelligence (AI), while it is not present in the game.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI PLAY 2015 - Proceedings of the 2015 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9781450334662
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2015
Event2nd ACM SIGCHI Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play, CHI PLAY 2015 - London, United Kingdom
Duration: 5 Oct 20157 Oct 2015


Conference2nd ACM SIGCHI Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play, CHI PLAY 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Adaptive artificial intelligence
  • Biasing effects
  • Immersion
  • Player experience
  • Player knowledge

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