FA16- Final Project: Project 5



Poster Final 200-2 



Social anxiety is a topic that has been commonly looked into and researchers seek to find alternatives that could reduce this anxiety. This study will examine the behavior of kids who are socially anxious and those who aren’t. After they play social games with each other, the results will give an insight of whether these games have an impact on them.

There has been some research that has been done to study how games can affect the social skills of people. One of those researches includes a similar one that was done with the Kinect games and kids with autism (Ge, 2016). This experiment was to test how social development is when kids with autism are exposed to the Kinect games. Their results showed that those games did help the kids and their overall development with skills in communication and relationships with peers. Also, there were more general studies, such as one that studied the relationship between playing strategy video games and self- regulation (Gabbiadini, 2016). This study showed that there was a positive correlation when looking at the people that played these games and their self-regulation, which meant that it did affect positively in self-regulation for everyday tasks. Other studies are much different, but it still researches social anxiety and certain games. A research was conducted to study the relationship between socially anxious students and playing drinking games (Mulligan, 2016). This study took place in universities where they conducted commonly played drinking games. The results of this study shows that those who were socially anxious played these games normally, especially if they were drinking to cope, they participated. These studies all vary with context, having different conditions and stimulants but they all show how different games can affect the behavior of socially anxious individuals.

This study will attempt to do the same thing, to show a correlation between a game and the behavior of socially anxious individuals. Instead of using the context that were already used in previous research this study will attempt to be more in detailed with examining every behavior that’s presented through a game that includes a scavenger hunt and working closely with peers. Current theories can be challenged by using a more qualitative approach and observations, along with recording data and quantitative results on the scores of their surveys.

This study will fill those gaps by having every action be recorded and rewarding the subjects for every time they are social. By just getting scores before and after the game is performed may not be enough to determine how they behave, so every action is rewarded and taken into account. Knowing that one is being rewarded for being social could trigger the subjects to continually perform that action. Also, by watching every action performed conclusions could be made on how their behavior has changed, if it did. It is predicted that socially anxious adolescents can develop more social skills and confidence through playing social games with peers.













The amount of subjects that were used were 8 students. They were recruited by being picked out from a group based on the performance on a survey that was given out. Those with the lower grades meant that they were less social and those with higher grades claimed to be more social. Half of the subjects were those with low grades and the other half were those of the high grades. This was done to compare results and to see how effective the game is on those who need help being more social as oppose to those who are already socially active. The subjects that were more socially active before the game were usually younger and the ones that seemed to have social anxiety were mostly older.

To collect data, observations were made and recorded during the game. All the subjects gathered together before the game so that it was explained and everyone began by introducing themselves and talking to one another. Everything was observed and those who interacted more received more stars. The students were aware of the rules of the game and that if they talked more during the gathering they get more stars. Observations were also made during the times when they were on the scavenger hunt and were at each checkpoint. By the end of the game, the second and last gathering was observed also to see how much more comfortable each subject was with talking.

I compared those who were originally more social and those who weren’t to see how well they improved on speaking and interacting. Things were explained as a group at the beginning of the game and data was collected by observations and also assessments at the beginning and ending of the game.




The outcome of the experiment showed that there were more interactions between all the kids by the end of it. At the beginning the more socially active ones did talk more, some were quiet and the socially anxious ones were also quiet. However, throughout the game when getting to know one another and having to interact with each other everyone seemed to become more comfortable and the conversations began to come more easily for them, instead of being forced. At the end of the game when everyone was gathered again, everyone spoke more and there was more of a group interaction where they spoke about the game and all gave their opinions on it.

The mean score on the survey for the subjects’ satisfaction of socializing more with the game was 83.75 (SD= 26.37). This data is collected from the evaluation given to each student after the game was finished. The evaluation was composed of questions that asked how well they think they improved with communicating and socializing after the game.

The mean for the students who were on the social end of the group was 77.5% of an improvement of socializing more. This means that they felt like they didn’t really improve in socializing, instead for the most part things felt the same. However, the mean for the more antisocial subjects was 90%, which means that they felt as if they improved and it reflected in their actions.



Figure 1: Before the game began, subjects took the survey to determine how social they were.










Figure 2: This pie chart shows the correlation of how the anti social kids

felt like they improved more after the games than the ones who were already social.







Figure 3: The scoreboard was kept inside the room where everyone was gathered before the game and while the subjects were being observed, I prompted a helper to put a star next to the person that I felt deserved one. Each subject’s initials were marked on the left and the right had their stars.






There is a correlation between playing social games and becoming more comfortable with others. The results show that those who were very anti-social and usually don’t like talking to others ended up becoming very comfortable, for the most part. Many of the subjects were basically forced to interact with each other for the game and when they realized they were having fun and no one was rude to each other they all felt comfortable and socialized more than they usually do.

This experiment solves a major issue within young adolescents and teenagers for socializing. At around this age many of them have insecurities and feel like they’ll be judged so they hold back on interaction because of this fear. By creating a non judgmental and friendly environment, everyone realized it was fine.

This experiment is similar to the common exposure therapy that’s practiced. By putting the subjects out there to do what they don’t want to (socializing) and realizing that they aren’t being judged, they felt better. A problem that could’ve occurred with this study is that the subjects could’ve been biased. Results were collected by both observation and questions given to the subjects, but they could have lied on the exam and just acted happy. Future experiments could test to see if they act the same when meeting up again for the game in a longer time period. So the game could take place and a month or two later they could be invited again to play with the same people and see how social they are. This could test to see if they really did feel comfortable or they need to break out of that shell again, and compare how well they adapt that time.




Gabbiadini, A., & Greitemeyer, T. (2016). Personality and Individual Differences. Uncovering the association between strategy video games and self-regulation: A correlational study, 129-136. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2016.07.041

Ge, Z., & Fan, L. (2016). Social Development for Children with Autism Using Kinect Gesture Games: A Case Study in Suzhou Industrial Park Renai School. Simulation and Serious Games for Education Gaming Media and Social Effects, 113-123. doi:10.1007/978-981-10-0861-0_8

Mulligan, E. J., George, A. M., & Brown, P. M. (2016). Social anxiety and drinking game participation among university students: the moderating role of drinking to cope. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 42(6), 726-734. doi:10.1080/00952990.2016.1188934


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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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