FA 16- Project 2: Final

PSY 200-Poster ( click the link to see the full poster) 

This stimulus has really helped children and I am so thankful I decided to create it. This class has opened my eyes to the possibilities of helping others. Below in full detail is the complete explanation of how I went about my creation and the outcome that has come about.

Many individuals believe that games have no educational background for children but after much testing and research the results were outstanding. Games of all kind serve a great purpose for many children. Not all games are educational but many serve the same purpose, they enforce socialization, eye-hand coordination, as well as critical thinking. The stimulus, Smarty Pants was created to prove that games are beneficial to the individuals that play them. Most children zone out and become unfocused when sitting in a classroom learning a topic they are unsure of. When a child is not paying attention to the topic at hand, they are making it harder on themselves to retain the knowledge needed to succeed. It is predicted that the study will help children learn while having fun. The stimulus forces the children to answer trivia questions based on subjects they are currently learning. The players must answer the questions correctly to win the game. The stimulus enforces children to socialize with other children as well as critical thinking to answer the questions asked throughout the game.

Methods- Subjects

The participants in this study were all between the ages of 7 and 9 years old. Boys and girls were both used to make sure there was a fair range of participates throughout the 16-week period. The subjects were recruited based on age and gender; they were children part of a first grade class that welcomed me with open arms. The subjects were randomly selected and were put into two groups, the experimental group and the control group. The experimental group played the stimulus created while the control group played a non-educational game. The participants were voluntary and were not paid. When the study was over they received cupcakes as a thank you.

Methods- Apparatus

Smarty Pants was a board game that had a start and an end. A spinner was used to determine how many places to move each player’s game piece when a question was answered correct. Questions varied based on the subjects the players were currently learning. The questions also varied based on the children’s age group. Each player had to answer a question in order to move his or her game piece. If the participant answered the question correctly they were then asked to spin the spinner and move their game piece the correct number of places. If they answered a question wrong, the player did not move their game piece. The stimulus was presented like any other game; the directions were read to each participant to make sure they understood the rules and what was asked of them. The participants were unsure of the questions until it was their turn to answer a question. Participant responses were measured based on number of questions each player had to answer versus the number of questions they answered correctly. The behavior of each player was documented in a notebook as well as academic grades after playing the stimulus. I was able to have the participants take a quiz after playing a full game of Smarty Pants to see how the game worked. Majority of the children did outstanding on the quiz and believed that the game was the cause for their high scores. The game was able to keep their attention and focus.

Methods- Procedure

The conditions created were educational vs. non-educational. Both groups were compared based on behaviors and performance on the quiz. The experimental group always seemed to score higher on the quiz then the control group. The two groups were unaware of the documenting so there was no fear of the participants changing their behavior. The game was tested many times with this group and each time the results benefitted the participants.


The outcome was as predicted, the game benefitted the participants and helped them learn the material needed while having fun. The first grade class was broken into 5 groups to play the stimulus. Group 1 answered 10 questions and answered 5 correctly. Group 2 answered 10 questions and answered 8 correct. Group 3 answered 10 questions and answered 8 correct. Group 4 answered 9 questions and answered 7 correctly and Group 5 answered 9 questions and answered 8 correct. The total correct answers total 36 questions, therefore the average of correct answers were 7. When the participants worked individually the number of correct answers were higher which the quiz scores supported. I believe the number of correct answers were lower when working in a group because the other participants easily influenced each other. At times the correct answers were mentioned in the group but then the final answer was given and it was wrong. The children seemed to second-guess themselves when another participant seemed more confident in their answer. Regardless of the participants working in groups or individually, the stimulus did what it was supposed to and benefitted each player.


The results support the thesis because each week the stimulus was tested on participants and the results were documented. The stimulus encouraged socialization and critical thinking. The children could not answer the questions without first thinking about the topic. Some questions were harder then others and used more thought while others were easily answered. Games have been used in many different studies, one study in particular was done by Mark Griffiths where games were used to help children receiving chemotherapy, undergoing psychotherapy or even struggling with emotions and behavioral problems. The results in this study stated that children benefitted greatly from the games. “Videogame therapy has been therapeutically successful in a wide range of childhood and adolescent disorders” (Griffiths, 1996, para 1) Nausea seemed to decrease when children were not focused on the environment around them. The games distracted the children from the bad in the world and helped them get through the rough times ahead of them. Another study stated that board games teach values, ethics, academic skills and the importance of playing by the rules (Parents, 2016, para 6). Articles that influenced this decision to focus on the importance of board games were Board games for kids: Do they have educational benefits? Written by Gwen Dewar and The Five Reasons to Use Games In The Classroom. Games are very beneficial and should have a chance to help more children


After much research and testing it is concluded that board games are beneficial to young children. Educational games helped the children focus their attention on the subjects at hand while having fun. Smarty Pants helped children study for a test while having fun and socializing with other participants. Much more testing, the stimulus could be perfected and published to help other children. Toward the end of my study I noticed that the non-educational game was a distraction because at times the children were loud and argumentative. The non-educational game was stopped and only the educational game continued being tested. The children responded very well to the stimulus and were eager to participant in the study. More positive research should be done to help children in so many ways. Games are very beneficial to children of all ages and should be seen as positive.


Dewar, Gwen. (n.d.). Board games for kids: Do they have educational benefits?     Retrieved December 10, 2016, from http://www.parentingscience.com/board-       games-for-kids.html

Griffiths, Mark. (2003). The Therapeutic Use of Videogames in Childhood and      Adolescence. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 8(4), 547-554.

Five Reasons to Use Games in the Classroom. (2016). Retrieved December 09, 2016, from http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/reasons-to-play-games-in-the-  classroom.shtml

The Benefits of Board Games. (2016). Retrieved December 11, 2016, from             http://www.scholastic.com/parents/resources/article/creativity-play/benefits-  board-games


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About Robert O. Duncan

I'm an Assistant Professor of Behavioral Sciences at City University of New York, with joint appointments in Neuroscience and Cognitive Neuroscience. I also have an appointment as a Visiting Scholar at New York University. My research interests include cognitive neuroscience, functional magnetic resonance imaging, glaucoma, neurodegenerative disorders, attention, learning, memory, educational technology, pedagogy, and developing games for education.

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