Motivational Effects of Adding Context Relevant Stress in PC-based Games Training


Morris, C.S., Hancock, P.A., & Shirkey, E.C. (2004). Motivational effects of adding context relevant stress in PC-based games training. Military Psychology16(1), 135-147.

This work was designed to examine the effects of contextually relevant stress on personal computer (PC)-based game training. Off-the-shelf PC-based games are being applied to many training situations because of their affordability, flexibility, and teaming capabilities. The ultimate purpose of training is to transfer superior performance to the real world. In this respect, 1 of the major drawbacks to using games as training tools, especially for military applications, is the absence of the surrounding context. In response to this omission, we examined the effects of adding context-relevant stress to infantry game-based training by exposing 1 group of participants to a graphically intense and stressful experience while the control group viewed an unstressful analog. Pre-post self-reported stress levels confirmed the efficacy of this manipulation. The stress condition produced significantly higher scores on “mission success”; however, no differences were evident in participants’ use of trained tactics or game functions. Supplementing context-relevant stress in game training shows promise for enhancing individuals’ motivation to succeed.

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