League of Legends is an online game with over 67 million players playing the game every month. As the developer of League of Legends, Riot Games has been employing the latest research from social and cognitive psychology mixed with techniques like machine learning and game design to help create more positive online communities.
One example of such research was the Tribunal System; this experimental system automatically curated behaviors such as chat logs from online communities into “case files” that could be reviewed by players in League of Legends. Depending on the case verdict, the players under review would receive rewards or punishments for their behaviors. This system collects over 105 million trials of data a year in just North America and Europe.
In a second example, we will show how you can utilize machine learning to study the evolution of language, and how feedback from the system can be used as an intervention to curb negative online behaviors. Finally, we will discuss an experiment where we explored what happens when you deploy a simple priming experiment to 67 million players over 4 weeks.
Using online platforms as a medium for research, many fields of psychology could be on the verge of a breakthrough. In the past year, we have started collaborations with academic institutions to study cooperation and collective intelligence, online governance, the evolution of language and more. We want to show you how online video games can forever change how we think about research and how your lab can get involved.
Jeffrey “Lyte” Lin is lead game designer of social systems and is responsible for helping League of Legends have the most sportsmanlike community in online games. Dr. Lin and his team challenge the convention that online communities are and always will be toxic environments; in fact, some of the team’s latest work suggests that the vast majority of online communities are positive or neutral. He runs experiments and data analyses, translating the results and learnings into viable game features that enhance engagement while amplifying the sportsmanlike behavior that already exists in the community. Before Riot, Jeffrey was an experimental psychologist at Valve Software and received his Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience from the University of Washington with Dr. Geoffrey Boynton and Dr. Scott Murray.