Gamifying Risk Communication: The Game of Mortality

24 Pages Posted: 17 Apr 2016

See all articles by Arden Rowell

Arden Rowell

University of Illinois College of Law

Dan Bacon

Harvard University, Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), Students

Date Written: April 10, 2016

Abstract

Scholars have long recognized the difficulties of communicating risk to the public. The rise of mobile gaming presents unprecedented opportunities for risk communicators to reach millions of potential users in engaging and potentially effective ways. Gamifying risk communication may help users build knowledge bases about risk, improve risk contextualization skills, and strengthen analytical skills for evaluating risk information. In some cases, gamifying risk communication may also provide social benefits, both by increasing the public's ability to evaluate risk, and by helping narrow the risk perception gap between experts and laypeople.

This paper describes the mechanics, style, and content of “Mortality,” a mobile gaming application designed to help people understand how different mortality risks compare to one another. The game structure can serve as a template for gamifying risk communication in other contexts, and for using gamification to enrich the public’s tools for risk analysis.

Keywords: risk analysis, gamification, technology and learning, risk communication, risk perception, mortality risk, dread, experts, laypeople, risk assessment, risk ladder, relative risk, numeracy, psychology of risk, mobile gaming, technology pedagogy, games for social change

JEL Classification: I1; I10; I2; I20; I29; I12; I1; I00; I18; D81; D83; K32; L50; L86; L82; C88; C80; Z00

Suggested Citation

Rowell, Arden and Bacon, Dan, Gamifying Risk Communication: The Game of Mortality (April 10, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2761926 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2761926

Arden Rowell (Contact Author)

University of Illinois College of Law ( email )

504 E. Pennsylvania Avenue
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

Dan Bacon

Harvard University, Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), Students ( email )

Cambridge, MA
United States

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