Clemson researchers have developed a short 2D videogame with an important societal purpose. The research by recent Human-Centered Computing Ph.D. graduate Marie Jarrell and co-authors Reza Ghaiumy Anaraky, Dr. Bart Knijnenburg, and Dr. Erin Ash demonstrates how changing the race and gender of the main character in the game can reduce race and gender bias. The paper describing the study results has been accepted to the 2021 edition of the prestigious ACM SigCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (link: https://chi2021.acm.org). The paper “Using Intersectional Representation & Embodied Identification in Standard Video Game Play to Reduce Societal Biases” details how the intersectional effects of race and gender discrimination can disproportionally affect black women. However, their study finds that participants who played as and identified with a black female protagonist in the game showed a significant reduction in bias against a black female job applicant.
Dr. Marie Jarrell is the primary author of this paper and graduated in December of 2020 from Clemson’s School of Computing. Their main research examines how playing video games using underrepresented characters could affect real-world biases against multiple underrepresented populations. They intend to use their background in both the arts and sciences to continue developing and researching video games and their impact. They are leaving Clemson with not only a Ph.D. in Human-Centered Computing but a M.S. in Computer Science and M.A. in Digital Production Arts.