Disrupting the magic circle: The impact of negative social gaming behaviours

Bernd Remmele*, Nicola Whitton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Studies on game-based learning often focus on positive motivations, behaviours, and outcomes. However, negative social behaviours are common in play. Game play is important for moral learning since players learn to comply with rules, fairness, and accountability. Games allow, and sometimes encourage, negative behaviours, which release players' obligations to behave in accepted ways and create new social situations where players learn to control behaviours as well as tolerate such behaviours in others. Sometimes this process fails and the magic circle of play is transgressed. Negative social behaviours, such as cheating, spoil-sporting, or sabotage, threaten to "break the magic circle" by disrupting the boundary between "game world" and "real world." Even if game rules encourage such behaviours, they can undermine the accepted social norms in both contexts. Educational game designers, researchers, and practitioners must appreciate and understand negative social behaviours and attitudes and the processes they can initiate.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPsychology, Pedagogy, and Assessment in Serious Games
PublisherIGI Global
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781466647749
ISBN (Print)1466647736, 9781466647732
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes

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