Negotiating Participatory Research and Interdisciplinarity through OutSmart! - A Serious Game on Persuasive Design
The familiar narrative goes something like this: Digital screens hijack our minds and hook our attention. In the process, young people in particular morph into “smombies,” failing to resist the lure of pulsating screens. But what grey nuances lie behind the “dark patterns” woven into digital design? How do social actors, rather than zombies, negotiate such design? Understanding this intricate interplay between users as sociocultural actors and persuasive digital design requires interdisciplinary and deeply collaborative approaches that force us to abandon preconceived notions about novel digital phenomena anchored in polarizing discourses. The project presented here combined perspectives from social and cultural anthropology, cognitive science, and computer science to develop OutSmart! a serious game designed for youth to reflect on the often opaque “backstage” of social media. The research involved a variety of methods and methodological approaches - workshops, a survey, interviews, and participant observations. The project not only shed light on the negotiation of persuasive design in young people’s everyday lives, but also offered several groups of school students in Vienna, Austria, the opportunity to actively participate in the process of game development. Both the interdisciplinary exchange and the knowledge co-creation with the students led to a renegotiation of the research focus and methodology. These negotiations helped the research team critically evaluate the underlying assumptions and reflect on our positioning as researchers. In addition, the game design’s playful approach took us beyond the comfort zones of our academic disciplines.
Dr. Suzana Jovicic is a researcher and lecturer at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology and CSLEARN Educational Technologies at the University of Vienna. She completed her MSc in Psychological and Psychiatric Anthropology at Brunel University, London, and her PhD at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Vienna. Her research interests lie in digital and psychological anthropology as well as design anthropology, interdisciplinary collaboration, participatory design and serious games. She is also co-founder of the Digital Ethnography Initiative and Communications/Web Officer of the European Network for Psychological Anthropology (ENPA).
Time & Location
Jun 01, 2022 | 06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
Rost- und Silberlaube
Habelschwerdter Allee 45