A collaboration with Ass. Prof Caroline Gilbert (Alfort Veterinary School – ENVA) is meant to study practices of gaming and playing in interspecific contexts, ans especially during scientific experimentations with animals.

When ethologists set up an experiment, they draw on ordinary and routinized activities of play that the dog is used to perform in its everyday life. For instance, to investigate the dog’s capacity to understand indexicality, the procedure can involve throwing and fetching a ball. The procedure then relies on the dog’s previous experiences of play, and builds on it.

Just like for young children, play and playing devices are thought as ways to:

  • gain the attention of the participants
  • ensure their cooperation in making the task less demanding
  • achieve specific purposes (here, assessing cognitive abilities) that go beyond the game at hand

We are interested in the resources used by the participant to create this “playfulness”, its essential features (gesturally, prosodically), and the way participants (be they humans or animals) orient to it.

  • during consultations made by veterinary behaviorists

(Games and role-play can be used for various educational purposes: learning new behaviors, preventing unexpected ones, learning the owner how to better communicate with his/her pet, etc.)
Although those kind of playful interactions are by no means equivalent to human games (implying rule following, and minimal common agreement on the characteristics and terms of the game being played), their analysis might shed light on how gamification is used, like in other human contexts, to ensure active collaboration and mitigate the potentially laborious dimension of interaction, be it for participating in a scientific experiment or for learning new behaviors for educational purposes.

Design workshops

(Kristian Mortensen)
A central feature in interaction design is to create environments for stimulating interaction around topics that are either intrinsically subjective (e.g., the experience of pain) or quite abstract (e.g., business models). Here, designers frequently invent or introduce a variety of tangible objects that are assumed to function as affordances for discussion. Thus, what workshop participants are faced with is a number of artifacts that are attributed with meaning in situ – objects assumed to represent or being metaphors for persons, (other) objects or abstract constructs. Workshop participants frequently engage enthusiastically in interaction with and around such materials and co-participants – typically with an orientation to game-like features.

Online gaming and swearing

(Marianne Rathje)
“Most of the people I have gamed with online seem like pretty resonalbe [sic] folks, yet there is so much foul language going on that I really am wondering whether I should be letting my son play or really if it is even for me”. This is how a concerned gamer worry about swearing in online games on an internet discussion forum “Gamespot” under the headline “Why is there so much swearing during online gaming?” ( This project aims at finding out how gamers swear while gaming, and what interactional functions swearing in online gaming has, cf. the functions mentioned by Stapleton (2010), e.g. social bonding. Is it part of an online identity? Has it become a necessary praxis in online gaming, or do the gamers orient towards swearing as a norm breach? How do gamers adopt each other’s swearing?  How is swearing part of the game universe that the gamers are playing? Data will be collected in schools or in leisure time where adolescents are playing online games. The research may be relevant for game moderators and teachers involved in gaming activities in school.