A Secret Strategy to Understanding Bias
Hi everyone, and welcome to today’s webinar: A Secret Strategy to Understanding Bias, hosted by HRDQ-U and presented by Brandon McCowan.
My name is Sarah, and I will moderate today’s webinar. The webinar will last around one hour. If you have any questions, just type them into the question area on your GoToWebinar control panel, and we’ll answer as many as we can during today’s session.
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I’m excited to introduce our presenter today, Brandon McCowan.
Brandon is a software engineer and inventor with over five years of experience in the health education industry.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences from La Sierra University and two master’s degrees in software engineering and business from Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee.
He helped build several simulations and games for various educational courses, and it’s published and the Innovations and Clinical Neuroscience Peer reviewed journal.
Brandon is the founder of Biased Out a DEI game company and lives in Redlands, California where he enjoys design, games, and playing tennis. Thank you for joining us today, Brandon.
Thank you, Sarah.
All right, let’s get started.
So, first of all, you might notice that this is two ordinary bees that you might see out in the wild. Minding their own business to the casual observer. But if you take a look a little bit more closely, you might realize there’s actually a difference. And the difference is that only one of these is actually a bumblebee.
The bee on the left is the real bumblebee.
However, the seemingly looking B on the right is actually what’s called … Thoracic, which is, to be like rubber fly.
And so it just seems like it’s another B But actually it preys upon these and beetles and wasps too.
And if you look a little bit more closely, to the robber fly on the right, you’ll notice that it has little to Blake appendage on its head and that appendages a proboscis. And what that it does is it will inject some enzymes into the B or into its prey and then it will dissolve the insides. And then, it’ll drink it up. Appetizing and know, and.
And so this is a metaphor.
four, Harmful unconscious biases that we hold, that, on the surface, it seems like, no, it’s just another harmless perspective that we have, or no non harmful bias that we have. But in reality, it can do a lot of damage to other people if we’re not paying attention.
And so I just want to talk a little bit about some of the characteristics about harmful biases. First of all, first of all, you can assign group labels, right? That would be something that harmful bias, and its halves, and it can be positive, and it can be negative as well. So, for example, Asian Americans are smart.
That is a positive bias, but it’s still a group label, and it puts people inside of the box, and it takes away from their diversity and the uniqueness that exists beyond physical features beyond physical characteristics and backgrounds. And so, that’s not helpful. And prioritizing, socialization is another thing as well.
And offensive connotations that are prioritized over facts and empathy, versus, know, the evidence, right? That’s something that we need to pay attention to. We need to pay attention to having empathy and paying attention to the facts versus these ideas that we have in our minds, whether we get it from the news, or whether we get it from a friend, or a family member, or a co-worker.
Then harmful biases can be subtle, right?
Like this Robert fly, it can be, no, not completely apparent to us and it just seems harmless.
If we aren’t self-aware, we can miss these harmful biases.
And this was kind of the inception of the idea of the game that I came up with called bias out and buy a stout basically focuses on the harms, the biases that we hold, and how we can reduce those biases.
How we can eliminate them or get as close as we can using game Mechanics. And so we’ll talk a little bit about what bias style is.
And it was released only a couple of months ago, so it’s a brand-new game. And it was targeted for organizations to help with DEI training.
Now, paying attention to the systems of bias around us, and, and how we can focus on reducing those.
And so in the game, your goal is actually to get rid of harmful in-game biases. Not your personal biases, but the biases that are included within the game, and you go through a process of getting rid of those.
And so it uses metaphors and real-world parallels in order to get a better understanding of how biases work in the real world, and then how we can work to reduce them.
And so, because of this sort of simulation that bias out uses, it makes it a lot easier to have these discussions around sensitive topics of bias, by creating this interesting and engaging context around these sort of sensitive topics. So, it provides a very good entry point into having these discussions.
So, today, we’re going to be talking a little bit about how the game actually works, how you play the game, and then we’re gonna go into facilitating the game. So, if you’re running a session, a training session, or you have a team of individual individuals, that you want to use the game with, we’re going to talk about some suggestions on facilitating the game.
And then finally, we’re going to be talking about how we can, how bias out engages users, and then, how it can change perspectives through playing the game, through discussion, and then through practice.
So, how biased out works? So, the game actually follows a narrative, right? And the first thing it does is it starts players out in what’s called a comfort zone.
And players have to leave this comfort zone and when they leave the comfort zone, they are they have to deal with the burden of the stigmas.
Alright, these sort of negative stereotypes, these biases that they hold in the game, and then they get to see how those taking those sorts of impact them in terms of interacting with others.
And then after that, they get kind of experience with rising social tensions around them, because of the stigma that are existing, are going on in the world, as well as social crisis that happens once those tensions are each sort of a maximum point. And then, they kind of boil over and a social crisis happens. So, that’s kind of the narrative that they came, sort of follows. So, we’re going to take a look at each one of those.
So, the first thing is comfort zone. It’s an actual physical space on the board.
But it’s also metaphorical, in terms of what does it mean to be in your comfort zone to be in a comfortable place, a place of rest, A place of peace and reflection and then leaving that comfort zone in order to go out in the world and interact with others.
Because in terms of the game standpoint as well as in the real-world as well, you have to leave your comfort zone in order to make progress in order to make change happen.
You have to get out of your comfort zone and do something. But then you can also always return to your comfort zone and then reflect on what you’ve learned.
And in the discussion that happens during the game or after the game, that’s kind of A It’s something that players can, you can think about and answer is that What does comfort zone mean to you, or what does the comfort zone look like in the real world?
And after that, the next step is those burden of statements, and everyone starts off in a game with a random set of stigmas.
And those are representative of harmful biases and the negative labels that we have of others that we may not even be aware of.
But that doesn’t mean that they don’t affect us and affect our relationships and interactions with other people.
And so in the game, the stigma will actually hinder players from interacting in some settings with the characters in the game and the more stigmas that you have some more difficult. It’s going to be to interact with others around.
But, ultimately, if we’re going to function in the real world, we have to interact with others, including members from marginalized groups, and so, because of that, we have to find a way to, to work with them, right?
And we do that by finding shared traits with them, right? That’s how we can reduce some of that discomfort that we feel, the more we interact with others. The more we find. what we have in common with them, the less of a difference that we feel with them, the less of a gap, and, dislike, or fear that we have about others.
The other, when we see what we have in common with them, what shared experiences we have with them.
And another thing the players have to deal with is these rising tensions.
And there’s conflict going on, in the world, right, and were tainted by these toxic ideas that are kind of generated by everyone’s stigma and the ideas that are spread through the media and through close friends and family.
And these ideas cause tension and division among the people.
And then, over time, the tensions increase as these thoughts lead to toxic behaviors and injustice and discrimination.
And we have to exist in this world.
And there’s two systems of forces that are kind of working against us. And that’s these internal biases that we have to come stigma.
And then, these systemic biases from the culture and the media, it’s creating, there’s tension that we have to fight against in order to be in order to contribute and interact with others and have a positive and effective relationship with others.
And so ultimately, after the tension rises and boils over, once it reaches this critical point, then we have what’s called the social crisis.
And that’s kind of representative by riots and protests and just the crisis erupts. And it kind of represents the fight against injustice. And it’s it acts as sort of a wakeup call, right?
And the game is a bit of a reset.
We’re players kind of have to go back to square one and go back to their comfort zone and then kind of reset. And that will be kind of like us, going back, when these sorts of situations happen, and think about, like, what have we missed, right.
What do we need to start paying attention to? And what do we need to start doing in order to help?
Um, you know, make sure these things don’t blow up again, or how can re recreate change.
So that these things sort of things don’t happen like they’ve been happening. So the game sort of follows this narrative and from comfort zone to social crisis. And actually, what happens in the game is there’s multiple social crisis to the player’s experience and have to deal with. That’s kind of the cycle, how the game works.
But now, we’re going to take a look at the actual gameplay and the setup. And each player, when they start the game, they have dice or one type of player piece, and then a little game tips card. Which gives them sort of a reference for how the game works, and things that they need to remember, and then, of course, they have the statements that they start out with.
And then, um, yeah, one thing to point out is that it, when they started off the stigma’s, it doesn’t necessarily mean that those players have those stigmas, right?
Because it’s a very personal thing that’s very uncomfortable thing to put your biases or your statements in light of others. And so that’s something to remember. Remember that it’s, it’s not the actual stigma that they have. It’s just an example of real biases that are out there.
Then, finally, they get a personality card, which is kind of representative of traits or interests that a person has, and they’ll be using that to compare with other characters in the game to kind of see what sort of shared interests they have and what sort of comfort they can gain out of those shared connections.
So, this is an example of one player section on the boards, and that’s pretty simple.
They start out on their comfort zone, and then they can move through the regular standard spaces and then hit these location icons, and those location icons are actually settings where they’ll draw a card, and then they’ll see if they can interact with some characters that are at that location.
By asking them questions, and you’ll notice that there’s multipliers. And so the further you get away from your comfort zone, the bigger, the kinda potential multiplier, the bigger the reward is as you travel further away from your comfort zone.
And this is a look at the full board, which shows the player sections, each section around the board.
And then, you’ll see each of the player pieces and their cards, as well as, in the bottom right-hand corner, you’ll see what’s called empathy cards, and then some comfort tokens, and comfort tokens are what you gain by finding matching traits, personality traits, with the characters in the game.
And so, the game actually comes with a, a personal board, which is can be put together with a couple of different cards. And if you don’t want to use the full board, you can just use the cards, and that makes it a lot easier. Especially if you want to use it in sort of a virtual setting. If you want to play with other people who also have the game, you can just use those cards without having to set up the entire board, and then you can play virtually or remotely, if that’s what you want to do. So it’s pretty easy setup, And so we make that available to you.
So let’s take a look at some of the cards.
The first major card is stigma, stigma, card, and that represents the harmful biases that you carry with you. Again, it’s not personal to you. It’s just an example of the real biases.
No. In the world.
And you have to get rid of those through playing the game. And so each player starts with five stigma cards.
And again, the goal is to get rid of all of your stigma cards, and the more you have, the more difficult it is to interact with others, and they can be discarded by trading in your comfort tocantins.
So, you gain your comfort tokens by interacting with others, and then you discard stigma cards by turning in those comfort tokens. That’s kind of the cycle.
And you may notice on the stigma card, there is a tend to be little phrase. Disabled people tend to be chronically ill.
And that’s kind of a repeating, um, pattern that you will see.
And that’s because harmful biases tend to be subtle, like I mentioned, at the beginning. And logically, we know, all right? We know that not everyone is like that.
But that subtle tendency, it’s still influencing our behavior and our choices, because they can always fit the bill.
They could always that could always be true, right? And so it’s easier, and it’s safer.
If we just assume that it does.
That doesn’t mean that we’ve seen any evidence if that’s true.
And we have to make sure that we’re being empathetic first before we make those judgements.
So each player takes a turn.
All right? And then after each player takes a turn, that’s the end of a round.
And so, after the first player takes a turn, it goes around, and then, after the last player takes their turn, a socialization card is drawn, and then a new round will start after that.
And socialization cards are basically news style headlines where it represents teaching or reinforcing cultural perspectives and values.
And in this example, it’s more coming from a media standpoint, but there’s also several examples from a family member saying something, or a friend saying something, or the boss, your boss, and saying something that adds to that cultural perspective and values.
And the number at the bottom is, it adds to the tensions, the rising tension that I was talking about, and increases tension within society.
And then after enough socialization cards have been drawn.
The tension will reach a maximum, and a social crisis will occur.
Empathy cards represent the empathy that you gain by considering your interactions with the characters in the game, and they can be gained by trading and comfort tokens. And they give you permanent advantages in the game. So it basically speeds up your progress. It speeds up your speed in the game. Basically, it helps you perform faster and win more quickly.
And so that’s kind of an advantage in comparison with discarding your stigma cards. So, it’s a choice that you have to make. And, so, some examples of empathy cards would be, for example, increasing your movement speed, or making it easier to interact with characters in the game.
Um, or, like, this card says, it’s asking a question and extra question, for turn.
Character cards are, they show the diversity and the diverse characters, typically for marginalized groups that you have to interact with in the game, and each character has a name.
They have a picture of group, such as Hispanic, Asian, LGBTQ, but there’s no direct impact on the game from these. from these titles.
It’s more of just designed to kind of invoke some of the bias perspectives in terms of people’s minds, in terms of those, know, the effect that these, these have on hiring decisions on decisions. Whether to include people or disk with people, and it provides a good point of discussion.
And so that’s why we include those, all those on the cards.
Now, the personality cards are just kind of random interest and random traits. They’re a little bit like silly or nonsensical it adds a bit of fun to the game. But the implications are a little bit deeper.
And so, it’s human nature, right? To value, those who are like us, value people to act like us, that relate to us. And we weigh that heavily in our decision to include people, and how we treat people.
And our biases prevent us from seeing the real commonalities between ourselves and other people.
And our biases focus us on the differences.
But when players are encouraged to focus on the similarities, then they can begin to shift the weight and distribute it to aspects of a person’s character that are actually relevant, rather than surface level traits that, that are, you know, going to be useful.
And so the cars are kind of a light hearted way to serve as that entry point, into a more deeper and more serious conversation about why we exclude others, and why we illustrate them.
And then, you also have the setting cards, which are pretty straightforward. It’s just the location, different random locations that you could find people, or you could meet.
people will talk to them, whether it’s a coffee shop, whether it’s and, know, at an airport, or just random locations, where you might meet somebody from, and who’s a member of a marginalized group, and then, you know, have a conversation with them.
And, and so you’ll see, obviously, the location. And then you’ll see stigma and characters, characters is going to be the number of characters at that setting that you can interact with, and then the stigma is going to be the maximum number of stigma cards you can have.
So, if that number is too high, Dan, I’m sorry if you’re stigmas are too high. Then it’s like, you avoid that interaction. Alright, like your stigma, stigma says to are too high in order to do that interaction. So you can’t do it.
And so I’ll get into an example to show you how that works.
So let’s say you land on a location icon, and that lets you draw one of the setting cards. And it says, oh, the stigma is two, and you have statelet to stigma card. So your stigma is not too high.
So you can interact with the characters in the setting.
And so the three characters are Manuel … and Miranda.
And so you’ll draw those cards and another player, and again, will draw personality cards. And you can role play if you want. That’s totally optional. It’s totally up to you.
And so, for example, for men well, you can ask, oh, man, well, what is your favorite team?
And then, your compare is on the personality card, till what is on your own card.
And if there’s a match, then you’ll get some comfort tokens for that.
And so you kind of go through each of the characters, interacting with the characters, asking questions, and then you get to see how many comfort tokens you can at that.
And so, the comfort tokens are like I’ve mentioned, their currency in the game.
And you use these tokens to get rid of your stigmas or to gain empathy cards, and that sort of, as a strategic decision that you have to make.
And then there’s discussion questions about what comfort tokens actually represent? What does it mean to gain comfort tokens, and what do you gain?
When you discover shared traits or experiences with others, what does that mean, or what does that represent?
Then this is kind of the game mechanics for the rising tensions.
And so the civil tensioned meter starts off at low at one, and then it increases over time as you drop socialization cards.
Then over time, once the tension meter reaches crisis or close sumacs, once it hits crisis or over, then there’s a social crisis.
And once that happens, that represents sort of the outbreak of riots and protests. And that’s a bit of a wakeup call, right?
Where players need to go, do a bit of a reset, and go back to kind of square one, return to your comfort zone, and reflect on kind of what’s going on in the world. You can avoid this if you have five or more empathy cards, because that’s kind of a representation that you do have the significant awareness of yourselves that you’ve gained through, interacting with others, and self-reflection. And so if you’ve gained enough empathy, cards you can avoid that sort of wakeup call.
So if you’re away from your comfort zone, when the crisis hits, you do lose your comfort tokens because it impacts everyone, right? When a crisis hits it does impact everyone to a certain extent. And so you do lose your bearings, you do lose your comfort. And so that’s a way to add strategy to the game, so that players can be prepared when the crisis hits and not be so reckless.
So, that wrote. That works really well for the gameplay as well.
Then the civil tension leader returns to low, and after the social crisis event, a new round starts with the first player again.
And then, No. Winning is pretty straightforward once you discard your last stigma card. You win the game, the first player to do that, wins the game.
OK, so I’m going to check to see if there are any questions.
It doesn’t, you don’t really see any, so I’m gonna keep going. So, let’s talk about facilitating the game. If you’re a DDI trainer or you’re running the game for a team or group of people, then here’s some suggestions and guides for how to do that successfully.
OK, so, the first thing is understanding what your role is as a facilitator. And the first thing you need to understand is that your primary role is to support the players, and their experience, right?
Making sure that they have, and engaging time, and educational experience. And the way you can do that is by understanding how the game works, understanding how the rules work, and being able to explain that to them, in a way that they can understand, and to make sure that the game keeps flowing smoothly, as smoothly as possible.
In terms of guiding this discussion, you can choose to have a discussion during gameplay. You can also choose to have a discussion after gameplay.
The timing is up to you, but however you feel provides the most interesting experience for the players, is the best way to do it.
You can kind of gage it. It’s based upon your preference, and also, it’s based upon how the players are doing in the experience.
But ultimately, the goal is to maximize player interests and involvement while they are learning.
So there’s two parts to running a play session. The first part is, obviously, you play the actual game. And then the other part is having discussion, you can mix and match these two.
But those are the two parts of a session. And it’s important to maintain a continuous pace, because if it’s kind of slow or confusing, then you’re gonna lose your audience a little bit, and in order to minimize boredom, to minimize confusion, you want to keep the pace going. So, and this is part of how understanding the rules comes into play, because if you understand the rules, well, then, you can step in, and you can say, this is how it’s supposed to work, or if there’s some sort of disagreement. You can kinda clarify that.
But, if the participation is low when you’re having, you’re trying to have a discussion.
Sometimes, it’s good to just keep it moving, and ask the next question, or no.
Yeah, just keep, keep things moving, untracked, Preparing for a play session. So, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to finish the game fully, the gameplay can last a few hours.
If you don’t know, some players don’t know what they’re doing. So, it’s important to set a time limit.
You don’t want it to go on too long. Great. So, 30 minutes, for example, for playing the game and then 30 minutes for having discussion or an hour offset time for having both the gameplay and the discussion mixed in.
Again, in order to get something out of the experience, they don’t have to complete the game.
They can just play maybe, a couple of rounds, or get to the social crisis of it, and then you can, once they do that, you can leave the rest of the time to have a discussion.
Otherwise, the Play Session could last for, for a while.
So depending on how many games are running at your session, and how many facilitators you have, You have a couple of different setups. Or, there’s a couple of different ways that you could do it.
And the first thing you could do is, with a single cam and single facilitator, is that you can explain the rules initially and walk-up players around, right, for them to get the hang of it. So, it’s more of a personal approach where you’re walking them through versus just telling them how it works, and then saying, you know, now go and do it.
Doing more of a hands-on, where you walk them through, and, and until they get the hang of it, then, you can kind of let them keep going.
For multiple games, It’s multiple facilitators, or I’m sorry.
Yeah, multiple games, multiple facilitators.
If you have a 1 to 1 ratio where you say you have two games and two facilitators, that makes it very easy. You can just use the single approach where each facilitator works with each of the, each of the teams, each of the games, and does kind of a personal walk through for each of them and explaining how it works.
But if it’s a little bit more uneven, you could have multiple facilitators actually doing a gameplay demo for around. and then you can have the different groups watching, as the facilitators walk through the game. So, that’s a pretty easy way for the players that kind of see how the game works.
And then, it’s more easy, it’s easier for them to actually, to, to play the game once they’ve seen how it works.
In another setup, where you have multiple games, single facilitator.
Sometimes it’s easier to just explain the rules and one large group, and then gather around one board with the team, and have everyone watch as you walk that team through, they game or throw around.
You could also walk each team through the game individually, but then that could take more time than you would like.
And so, once you’re, once you have the game is running, we need to monitor the game, right, and make sure that you’re checking on them.
But don’t just stick with 1, 1 group. Make sure you don’t hover. Hey, make sure, you kind of just leave for a while, and then keep an eye on them. And then you can come back.
And then you can check to see the progress that they’ve made, because when you hover, you kind of adding pressure, right, you’re kind of disrupting the flow of the game by just kind of like standing there and watching them.
And so, yeah, the only reason why you should really come back over to check on them is for no confusion disagreements, right. And then you can come back in and sort that out, and then you can leave.
But, yeah, making sure not to just kind of like stand there and watch, I think, helps to keep the pace and the thing, and to keep the game slowing.
Another thing that you can do is ask discussion questions, too. Alright. So, if you want to, you can come over, and then you can ask a question. And then you can let them discuss that among themselves. All right. And then you can leave, and then come back.
Um, But, yeah, for example, right?
You can, if you notice somebody making a certain decision in the game, you can ask them like, oh, why did you make that decision, or what do you think the real-world impact of that decision is? Or what a players think about a certain socialization card or search turton statement card.
Those are just some examples of discussion questions that you can ask them.
So, there’s a couple of different discussions that you could have, typically, depending on the type of group that you’re running. If you have a smaller group, it’s typically going to be more.
it’s gotta be better, more efficient to just have an all-group discussion, right? You can pose the question, so the whole group, and then everyone here has each other’s responses, and they can participate.
That’s pretty straightforward. But in maybe a bigger set setting, or even a virtual setting, you could have facilitators pose questions, and then they could discuss among themselves. And, for example, breakout groups, or if it’s in a physical room, and the different groups with the different games they can discuss among themselves.
And then, you can have a lead facilitator, lead facilitator, whether that’s herself, whether somebody else, they could comment on some of the good points, ticket, walk around, and listen to the different group discussions, and then kind of comment on some of the good points that they heard from the different groups. So that would work well. for maybe a larger group. Then you have the hybrid discussion, which, you kind of pose questions to everyone in their groups, and then let them discuss among themselves.
And then you could have Group revivers representatives, kind of get up and say, this is what we talked about in our group, and give kind of an overview, and a summary of what they talked about.
So, if players had an enjoyable experience, typically they’re gonna have more to say. They have more opinions. They’re going to have more questions, and just participate more.
But if they didn’t have an enjoyable experience, they might not say as much. Or maybe they need some help. Making the connections that the game is that are involved with the game.
And so, sometimes, it, it’s easy to start the conversation, more general question, more surface level questions. For example, what did you think about the game, or what was interesting about the game? And then kind of go a little bit deeper from there.
And then, for more difficult, or more abstract type questions, that kind of, where they kind of have to think a little bit deeper, you might want to offer some suggestions, based upon, know, your understanding of how the game works. And it could take a few more play sessions, right? For the concepts to sink in, and that’s OK. It’s just important to kinda get the conversation started, and getting them, thinking about it.
And then the more they play, the more they can have deeper understanding. Linger or have a better discussion in terms of what. What is going on in the game, and how that’s connected to the real world.
But it is important not to target players, because some people may not feel comfortable speaking up, some players may. But that might make their discomfort even worse if you put the attention on them. So just make sure not to, to do that.
And it’s OK, if you don’t cover all the questions, you don’t have to cycle back and make sure that all the questions were answered. You can skip some. Go on to the next one. And then cover more questions and the next session, when maybe they’re, they feel more prepared, or they understand a little bit better, how the game works, and how it’s connected.
So it’s important, because these are tense discussions to set the proper tone. Right, and the game does have a bit of a lighthearted tone, right?
It can be, you know, fun and competitive, and all these things, but the topics are sensitive, and so it’s important, too, let players understand that, right? They need to be empathetic, be respectful, have compassion, for others feelings. And so ultimately, the goal is to learn and improve themselves.
And so just having that mindset will help with players not no. Misunderstandings are players, not treating each other with respect.
So once the session is over, you can give them some questions, if you want some of the discussion questions to think about, if they didn’t understand some of the ideas. But that’s totally optional, you don’t have to do that. But, if you feel like having them think about it a little bit more outside of the discussion setting, and just having them reflect, that can be a good way to do it.
And then giving them.
Giving them the personal time to do that, because applying the concepts in real life is ultimately the end goal, right?
And so, in order for them to do that, they have to understand how those concepts work, and then being aware of the socialization that are around us, right?
And then paying attention to any of the shared traits with an individual from marginalized group, no, and how’s that can increase connection with others, That’s ultimately the goal.
And in keeping an open mind, right? We don’t wanna assume that a person is guilty of a bias or guilty.
Yeah, a negative stereotype unless we have evidence of that.
So the game is designed to be replaceable.
And because of that, it’s up to you to decide on a time interval of how often you want to replay the game. You can replay it every 3 to 6 months, or you can replay it whenever you offer diversity training on a regular basis.
But, know, the concepts do kinda get forgotten over time if they’re live, practiced. And so it’s important to kind of re play the game every now and again to reinforce those concepts to have those discussions.
And the more experienced players have with playing the game, then they’re gonna be able to have deeper conversations.
And they’re going to be able to have, no, actually real-world examples if they’re applying these concepts. So that’s kind of ultimately the end goal.
And so you want to keep, reinforcing those concepts and then talking about how you’re applying them.
And here’s some examples of discussion questions that are pretty open-ended.
So, for example, empathy cards give.
Given advantages in the game.
How can empathy helped us in the real world, and then, how can second center hinder our interactions with marginalized groups, and how can we reduce her overcome, these Hindrances?
So, because the game is the basis right for these questions, So they kind of have Like, a launching off point. They kind of have a platform in order for them to kind of make that leap and make that connection to the real world. And I think that’s one of the big advantages of this game, because they’re not just starting with the real world. And trying to figure out how to respond and how to think about real-world issues, they have a bit of a steppingstone to be able to get to those deeper conversations.
And so, now, we’re going to talk a little bit about engaging users, and how biased out can engage the users and keep their interest.
Engaging with choice.
So the player is presented with several choices in the game that impact their progress.
And it falls a bit of a risk versus reward theme.
Everywhere from moving in the game, where the further you move from your comfort zone, for higher, the potential reward with gaining more comfort tokens. But the riskier is because if you’re caught outside of your comfort zone, when a social crisis hits, then you can lose those comfort tokens. So that’s a strategic choice that they have to make.
Each one of their turns, so because of that, that’s kinda make it a little bit more challenging.
And it’s not just a straightforward decision. So, that keeps them invested and involved with what’s happening.
Another choice that they have to make pretty regularly is empathy or stigma. So, they can choose to use their comfort tokens to discard stigma cards, or they can gain empathy. So, the stigma, reducing that stigma is the end goal, right? And so they may just want to put everything into getting rid of their stigmas. But at the same time, if they don’t focus on the empathy side, then it might be a little bit slower.
So they have to choose to do they want to gain the empathy, which could speed up their progress, or do they want to just focus on getting, reducing that stigma is? So, that’s a choice that’s going to keep them engaged. And, again, as well as high versus low value trades, you may, or may not have noticed that the personality curves have two sections. one of them is a higher value, and one of them is a lower value. And the high value traits will give you more comfort tokens, but it’s riskier because the chance of you getting a match is lower. So there’s another choice where they have to decide on a regular basis, like, how much risk do I want to take? Right, and, and that keeps them invest. That keeps them engaged in the game’s mechanics and the gameplay.
As well as randomization. So randomization is that unpredictability, right? Each time they play the game, it’s going to be something different. It’s not the same thing each time. And so it’s going to keep users hoping it’s gonna keep users wanting that higher roll, right? Wanting that lucky draw.
where they get to interact with more characters and gain more comfortable guns, or just a good empathy card in order to speed up their progress.
And so, because it’s different, that keeps them wanting that, right, keeping them emotionally invested in the game.
As well as multi-player, right? That’s a very easy way to add some engagement to an activity is by making a multi-player because it’s human nature to want to win. Right. Or at least not to lose.
And so, when the other player didn’t get a good role or a good draw, know, you kinda get it twisted sense of satisfaction. Like, oh, good! You know, they messed up and other games.
I get the wind faster or excitement, when you do, because then you get to Robin interface, right? So, you know, players want that feeling. They want that competition, they like that, and it keeps them invested, as well as a shared experience, to write like that, sharing something, activity with somebody else. It creates connection, it brings people closer together, because they’ve been through something together.
Now, I’m going to talk briefly about how biased out can change perspectives.
So, the game kinda, helps players be aware of two different systems, primarily, and that’s through the use of the stigma cards that will make it more difficult to interact with marginalized groups, and that’s going to slow them down, right?
Because it adds that burden of bias, and it prevents them from making those connections from interacting with people.
And it’s interesting that in the beginning, it’s kind of slow, right, because they have all of these biases that are winding down, and that is an actual experience, right, that they’re experiencing, right?
It’s difficult for them to make these connections to interact with people. because the biases that they have are just too great.
But then, as they interact more, they realize that they’re progressing faster because they can get those comfort tokens, they can reduce their stigmas, and then that allows them to make connections faster and more easily. And so it’s kind of like an exponential process where it gets easier and easier. The more they go along, but they may not see this, right?
That this is kind of the case in real life, too, until you experience it first and biased out, helps players to do that.
As well as, oh, the socialization aspect as well, right?
And the tension, aspect that builds, as a socialization cards, keep ticking the meter closer to a social crisis. That’s kind of like, a visceral reaction that the players are feeling, that pressure, that they need to make sure that they’re interacting with people, and then also keeping their eye on what is the social, how close is the social crisis? Like, what is that intensity level?
And it just kind of helps us be more cognizant of media and cultural influences on social injustice, because ultimately, that’s what affects how we treat others.
Obviously, discussion is, is a pretty big one, right? There are several parallels in the game between the real-world and this game world, and having a discussion helps players to see that connection for themselves.
And so, being able to have a perspective in the game, then being able to see how that, what play out in real life, or how that works in real life, is definitely why we need to have these discussions.
Or we need to have this back and forth this dialog to be able to understand more deeply these sensitive topics.
And so, the game adds this buffer, between the real issues and between our perspectives, making it easier to have these conversations, because it doesn’t feel as personal. It creates some distance between the weight of these topics and what we’re doing in the game.
Then, like I said, the game is designed for multiple play sessions. And so some more users play, and the more easily discuss, then it becomes easier to put these concepts into practice. It’s like, learning a new skill, right?
The more you practice it, the better you get at it. But first of all, you have to understand it, right?
You have to talk about it, and then you practice it.
It’s all of those steps together that help you solidify that skill, and help you change your behavior.
Then in the words of the Late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, real change, enduring change, happens one step of the time at a time and these issues of discrimination these issues of inequity and exclusion. I’m not going to resolve themselves overnight. They’re not going to resolve themselves by playing a game one time.
But you have to start somewhere, and you have to keep moving forward one step at a time.
That’s how you make change happen, ultimately, that’s all I have. So thank you for listening.
And Sarah, I believe it’s time for some questions, if there are some.
Yes, thank you, Brandon. And we have some time to answer some questions that you may have so you can type those questions into the question area on your Control panel, and we’ll be able to answer a few of those for you today. And we did have a few questions come in along the way.
And the first question from Nick is, does the game provide the questions, or do you make up your own questions? Yeah, that is a great question. Any, so the game does come with 30 discussion and questions, and, like I said, they’re open-ended questions. And so those are perfect, starting points to have a discussion, and those can lead to other conversations. But those are, provide a good starting point to go from how the game was played, and how the game session went to, how we can think about these systems in the real world and how we can apply those.
And Candee, I’d like to know, what’s the minimum and maximum number of players per game?
So the minimum amount is two players. Maximum amount is four players.
And Terry would like to know, how would you play this game virtually?
So, like I said, it comes with the different cards setup where you have the personal port, right? And the rules actually give you the full setup for how a virtual game would be plain.
But, basically, it’s like you set up you’re on board, and then the other player on the other side setup board, and then, know, you follow along on your own board. And then, one player can draw socialization cards.
And you can take turns drawing personality cards and character cards for each one, but it’s, the setup works.
Obviously, it’s not like an ideal setup, but you can do it.
Great, and Alex would like to know. Why did you decide to make the game biased out?
Yeah, that’s a great question. I just, I felt like it was the right time, right to make it with all the social injustice and discrimination. And it’s kind of like everyone is paying attention to what’s going on, right?
In terms of DEI and, yeah, equity and inclusion, all of these things, it’s, it’s the right time to do it, because people are paying attention to these, these issues.
Great, and the final question that we’ll answer for today is from Stephanie and Stephanie would like to know if the game will cover more topics in the future.
Absolutely. We’re looking at other topics like ageism, and religion, and potentially political viewpoints, or political affiliation.
So, I believe that there’s a lot of, like, different topics in me that can be covered. Not just these topics, as well. So, there’s a lot of room for growth here.
And, yeah, we’re open to other suggestions, as well.
Oh, great! thank you, Brandon, that will conclude the Q and A for today.
All right, thank you, sir.
And, today’s webinar is sponsored by, What’s my Communication Style? You can learn more at WWW dot … dot com slash W MCS. And make sure that you join …. Social Media for our latest webinar Events and Blog Posts. You can find us at AHRQ and make sure you check your inbox following today’s webinar for a special offer from biased outs. That will conclude today’s session. Again, thank you so much for joining us today, Brandon.
Thanks, and thank you all for participating in today’s webinar, happy training.
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