Cognitive load and empathy in serious games: A conceptual framework

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The design of serious games does not always address players' empathy in relation to their cognitive capacity within a demanding game environment. Consequently players with inherent limitations, such as limited working memory, might feel emotionally drained when the level of empathy required by a game hinders their ability to cognitively attain the desired learning outcome. Because of the increasing attention being given to serious games that aim to develop players' empathy along with their cognitive competencies, such as Darfur is Dying (Ruiz et al., 2006), there is a need to investigate the empirical relationship between players' cognitive load and empathy development capacity during serious game play. Therefore this chapter examines cognitive load theory and empirical work on empathy development to propose a conceptual framework to inform the research and design of serious games that have empathy as part of the learning outcomes. Future research should focus on implementation and empirical validation of the proposed framework.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGaming and Cognition
Subtitle of host publicationTheories and Practice from the Learning Sciences
EditorsRichard Van Eck
PublisherIGI Global
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9781615207176
StatePublished - 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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