CfP: ‘Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace’ special issue on Videogames

Abstract submissions – December 15, 2014 for publication in October 2015.

The Experience and Benefits of Game Playing

The TED Talk on Play and Happiness (http://tedxnavesink.com/play/) organized on the 10th of May 2014 emphasized the role of games in enhancing our experience of life by promoting pleasure, progress, and paradox. Earlier in 2011, testimonials of video gamers suggesting that they have been saved by a game on the blog, How Video Games Saved My Life (http://gamessavedmylife.tumblr.com/) advocated for the importance of playing video games in people’s life. Additionally, the American researcher and game designer, Jane McGonigal, and her team launched a project of creating a game that would help to reduce depression. In 2012, the game Superbetter (https://www.superbetter.com/about) was subjected to outcome trials to examine whether such a gametool would be of help to anyone in need of reducing stress and depression effects. Such examples stand suggesting that there exists a strong belief in the capacity of games to address the human condition.

Indeed, does a video game drive players toward abilities needed for enhancing their quality of life? What is the role of affective experiences provided by video games? Does video gaming play a significant role in coping strategies? Is video gaming a leisure activity fostering the acquisition of techniques related to well-being? How does the video gaming experience bring players toward a better self-knowledge? Can video games help players to reflect on a deep level?


The experience of playing games is significant to gamers who can create their own reality. Throughout this experience they acquire new competencies, learn new things, and enjoy new forms of social interactions. For example, Waern’s (2011) offers an account of how players share the emotions of their character (‘bleed effect’) in Dragon Age: Origins (Bioware, 2009).Additionally, the game Catherine (Altus, 2011) encourages players to experiment with sexual infidelity. If the players’ objective is to explore their selves, they can go on a journey of self-discovery with The Sims (Maxis, 2000-2014) or Journey (That Game Company, 2012). Playing games and encountering failure provide also an occasion for learning if the ‘art of failure’ is mastered (Juul, 2013). Do video games teach players how to have a better life experience? Are game mechanics helpful in everyday life?


Playing video games may also be contributing to brain development as reinforced in the latest issue of the American Journal of Play (Pellis, Pellis, & Himmler, 2014). Indeed, neuro-science constitutes just one of the many disciplines that is now researching the impact of video games on life. How brains are impacted by playing video games? Do these changes serve or not the development of happiness?


Nevertheless, what matters the most in playing games is the opportunity to create. Moving from the victim state to the creator of their reality is the main step toward fulfillment. Moreover, making choice reinforces gamer autonomy and their self-reliability. Playing games put gamers face-to-face with choice. When games like Choice: Texas (http://playchoicetexas.com/) is released and made available to anyone thanks to crowdfunding, questions emerged. This empathic game created by Carly A. Kocurek, Allyson Whipple and Grace Jennings is a text-based game that puts the player into a pregnant woman’s shoes. The emphasis on choice that the avatar makes through player’s decision is decisive here. Can playing a video game teach gamers to feel some emotions (i. e. empathy)? Does playing video games increase social intelligence? emotional intelligence?


Furthermore, the platform Kickstarter (https://www.kickstarter.com/discover/categories/games?ref=home_featured) opened a gate for gamers to partake the creation of video games they would like to play. Players enjoy co-creating their gaming experience (Banks, 2013); they feel as part of a community. Do video games encourage volunteering? Or dedication to a community? Or personal investment to a project?


Consequently, the experience of play triggers manifold effects to the gamer’s life. Calling on varied disciplines such as game studies, psychology, psycho-analysis, philosophy, sociology, leisure studies and more, this special issue of Cyberpsychology aims to gather papers from the most recent researches.


Guest-edited by:

Pascaline Lorentz, PhD (Masaryk University, CZ)

Email: pascaline.lorentz@gmail.com

Christopher J. Ferguson, PhD (Stetson University, USA)

Email: cjfergus@stetson.edu

Gareth Schott, PhD (University of Waikato, NZ)

Email: sgrsnaes@waikato.ac.nz


The Journal:

Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace is a web-based, peer-reviewed scholarly journal that focuses on social science research about cyberspace. The journal is interdisciplinary, publishing works written by scholars of psychology, media studies, sociology, political science, nursing, and also other disciplines. The journal is indexed with SCOPUS, EBSCO Academic Search Complete, the Directory of Open Access Journals and the Czech Database of Scientific Journals. For further information see http://www.cyberpsychology.eu

Guidelines for submission:

Abstracts of 500 words are expected presenting the main topic and the argument supported in the future paper. Additionally, full contact information, and a biographical note (up to 100 words) on the author(s) are required. Submissions have to be sent to pascaline.lorentz@gmail.com before the December 15, 2014.

Decision about the selection of abstract will be delivered to authors before January 30, 2015. Full paper will be expected for March 31, 2015. Full papers for this Special Issue of Cyberpsychology should be between 6, 000 to 8, 000 words including notes and references. The American Psychological Association (APA) citation style needs to be used. References should be listed alphabetically at the end of the article. Wherever possible, link references to online sources. Please check guidelines: http://cyberpsychology.eu/submission.php

All articles will be reviewed by editors and at least one reviewer (blind review). The overall comments from peer-review will be communicated to authors May 30, 2015. The final submission of the paper is expected for June 30, 2015 for an online publication before September 30, 2015.


Timeline for publication:

Deadline of abstract submission: 15th of December 2014

Reviews from editors: 30th of January 2015

Deadline of full papers submission: 31st of March 2015

Overall review: 30th of May 2015

Final submission of paper: 30th of June 2015

Online Publication: 30th of September 2015


About the guest-editors:

Christopher J. Ferguson, PhD is an Associate Professor and Chair of Psychology at Stetson University. He holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Central Florida. He has clinical experience particularly in working with offender and juvenile justice populations as well as conducting evaluations for child protective services. In 2013 he was awarded a Distinguished Early Career Professional Award from Division 46 (media psychology and technology) of the American Psychological Association. In 2014 he was named a fellow of the American Psychological Association through Division 1 (General Psychology, effective January, 2015).


Pascaline Lorentz, PhD in Sociology is a Postdoctoral Researcher working on online gaming at the Institute for Research on Children, Youth and Family at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic. Granted with an ENDEAVOUR Research Fellowship in 2011 she undertook a study documenting the social environment of an intense practice of virtual world attachments in Australia. Her doctoral research completed in 2012 investigated the teenage audience of The Sims®. In 2013, she worked on Digital Australia 14 and Digital New Zealand 14 with Professor Jeffrey Brand at Bond University, Australia.


Gareth Schott holds a PhD in Psychology from the University of Wales, Cardiff (UK). He is currently a Senior Lecturer at the School of Arts, University of Waikato. He has been a principal investigator on two Royal Society of New Zealand: Marsden grants for research into players’ experiences with videogames containing violent content. He has also conducted research on behalf of the NZ Office of Film and Literature Classification on the topic of parental understanding and experience of violence in videogames. He has published widely in the field of ‘game studies’ since its inception as an academic discipline in 2001. He is co-author of the book Computer Games: Text, narrative and play (published by Polity Press) and is currently working on a book entitled ‘Violent Videogames: Rules, realism and effect’ that will be published by Bloomsbury Press (New York) in 2015. He has also recently been appointed to the Film and Literature Review Board by the NZ Governor General for a three year term.



Banks, J. (2013). Co-creating Videogames. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.

Eichenbaum, A., Bavelier, D., & Green, C. S. (2014). Video Games: Play That Can Do Serious Good. American Journal of Play, 7(1), 50.

Juul, J. (2013). The art of failure: an essay on the pain of playing video games. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

King, D. L., & Delfabbro, P. (2009). Understanding and assisting excessive players of video games (Vol. 21, pp. 62-74). Australia: The College of Community Psychologists of the Australian Psychological Society

McDermott, A. F., Bavelier, D., & Green, C. S. (2014). Memory abilities in action video game players. Computers in Human Behavior, 34, 69-78. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2014.01.018

Pellis, S. M., Pellis, V. C., & Himmler, B. T. (2014). How play makes for a more adaptable brain. A comparative and neural perspective. The American Journal of Play, 7(1), 73-98.

Waern, A. (2011). ‘I’m in love with someone that doesn’t exist!’ Bleed in the context of computer game. Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds, 3(3), 239-257. doi: 10.1386/jgvw.3.3.239_1


Become a DiGRA Member

Join the premier international association for professionals, academics, developers and other individuals interested in the evolving fields of digital gaming and game studies.