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Sentiology: The Study of Experience

Reference related to the study of Experience may span many disciplines. Suggestions?

Previous Post: Sentiology?

No, 'sentiology' is not a word

Game Design is primarily concerned with designing an experience1, which should lead one to consider that, to understand player or audience experience specifically, first we should have a firm understanding of Experience in general. That’s “Experience”, with a capital “E”; as in, the whole of individual human experience, encompassing anything that could be called a part of an experience. However, research in this direction may lead one to believe that perhaps there is no such thing as The Study of Experience.

It appears that Cognitive Psychology is concerned with most elements of Experience as do other disciplines such as Cognitive Neuroscience, Psychiatry and Neuropsychology. But these disciplines do not appear to encompass Experience in its entirety; at least, not in a way that seems to be practical for Game Design. The goal for this study is to arrive at a practical understanding of Experience that can be used as a design aid; a guide that could be used to analyze, evaluate and design elements that effect audience experience.

Along with obvious sources from Game Design, some relevant research I like has come from theatrical performance, industrial and graphic design, writing and music theory and the fields related to Cognitive Psychology. I believe at least one center of study in the domain of Philosophy2 appears to follow similar lines of thinking to my personal understanding of Experience.

I'll list some sources that I found valuable in relating to different aspects of audience Experience. I invite game designers in particular to suggest other valuable reference sources. Please note that the previous post's comments yeilded many links and suggestions already. I also invite everyone to comment on or debate the assertions and opinions expressed above. Thank you.

• Anderson, S. P. (2009). (and related materials) [Website]
• Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1997). Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement in Everyday Life
• Johnstone, K. (1979). Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre
• Lotto, B. (2009). TED Talk: “Optical Illusions Show How We See” [Online Video]
• Norman, D. (1988). The Design of Everyday Things
• Schell, J. (2008). The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses

1 Schell, J. (2008). The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses p.10.

2 Center Leo Apostel for Interdisciplinary Studies (CLEA) in Brussels, Belgium is an interdisciplinary institute which appears to focus on an individual capacity to hold a worldview, or Weltanschauung, as opposed to the common idea that worldview is a collective model of understanding among a large group or society. []

Next Post: Perception and Cognitive Models

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