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Learning About Learning: Cognitive Gaming as a Technology of the Self

David Corso



Humans perceive and interpret video games in various ways. When viewed as a cognitive process, video games facilitate intellectual growth and development. This piece analyzes selected works by French intellectual Michel Foucault and educational game design researcher Kurt Squire to explain how video game play elicits various cognitive and metacognitive processes. The video discusses how gameplay contributes to the development of cognitive skills, such as memory and attention. It explains how gameplay facilitates learning about learning as well as how video games provide transferable knowledge. An interpretation of Foucault’s “technology of the self” indicates how individuals might use gameplay to train, learn, and grow. Collectively, this suggests that a player can develop mental agility playing video games.





About the Author


David CorsoDavid Corso

Spartanburg, South Carolina
5th Year, Spring 2013
Biology Major, Psychology Minor, Educational Gaming Focus

A majority of my undergraduate experience has revolved around video games. During my sophomore year, I received a Magellan Scholar for my project “Learning About Learning: Cognitive Gaming as a Technology of the Self.” During my junior year, I worked on an Exploration Scholars project, and we designed an educational game—Immunis. During my senior year, I started to develop Immunis through the University of South Carolina’s Student Incubator Center program, i.e. the Columbia Technology Incubator. Currently, I am working in the Applied Cognitive Neuropsychology Lab at USC doing research on video games, and I’m presenting my Honors College Senior Thesis on Holistic Gaming.

These collective experiences have allowed me to gain a better idea as to what skills I possess, how I can best utilize my skills, and how I can most effectively help others. I will obtain a MEd in Educational Technology from the University of South Carolina’s College of Education, and I plan on continuing my studies by getting a PhD in Educational Psychology and Research. I want to design and develop educational games, and I want to research the effects of these games.

I’ve always appreciated games for a number of reasons, and thanks to a couple of classes during my freshman year, I began to look at video games in a new light. My interest in the cognitive and meta-cognitive effects of video games has helped progress me to where I am now. My two most influential mentors—Randall Cream and Simon Tarr—have facilitated this fascination. Along with the help and guidance of various USC faculty—Briana Timmerman, Heidi Rae Cooley, William Morris, and Scott Decker—I’m blessed doing something I love and find value in. Thank y’all so very, very much.

One love.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.