Module code: PSYM155

Module Overview

Psychological analysis of the design of games and digital experiences concerns not only the individual player’s cognitive and motivational perspective but also the social and ethical aspects. This involves topics like player interactions, representation and inclusiveness, well-being and addiction, etc. This module is about developing the knowledge and skills to adopt psychological principles and findings for an engaging as well as ethical design of games and digital experience.

Module provider


Module Leader

FU Di (Psychology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): 65

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 4

Independent Learning Hours: 95

Lecture Hours: 13

Seminar Hours: 4

Tutorial Hours: 12

Guided Learning: 11

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Group dynamics in games and digital environment

Digital accessibility and inclusivity

Healthy game habits and addiction

Digital literacy and well-being

Ethical design


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Game design prototype report (Group) 40
Coursework Game critique (Individual) 60

Alternative Assessment

Group report can be alternatively assessed by means of an individual report.

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of key concepts in the field, to critically assess the design of games and digital experiences from a social and ethical perspective, generate and present new ideas, and obtain feedback with respect to generating a well-rounded game design that incorporates personal, social and ethical considerations.


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Coursework (game design prototype report; addresses learning outcomes 1-5) An extended project to applying game elements to improve the design of a game or digital experience, with particular focus on the social and ethical considerations. Students will work in groups for this project to encourage the learning of collaborative work dynamics.

  • Coursework (game critique; addresses learning outcomes 1-4). Students are tasked to generate a report assessing critically a game from a social and ethical perspective.


Formative assessment and feedback:

  • Students present their ideas for peer review and feedback prior to report completion.

  • Each contact session involves practical exercises where results are shared with peers and the lecturer for feedback. In addition, workshops involve live generation and feedback on work. The student-led seminar sessions give students an opportunity to prepare a formal presentation of their work and receive feedback from peers and the lecturer.

Module aims

  • Introduce psychological theories and findings in the understanding of group dynamics, inclusivity, player well-being in game and digital experiences
  • Develop the ability to critique the design of games and digital experiences from a social and ethical perspective
  • Develop the ability to design more engaging and ethical games and digital experiences
  • Develop collaboration and communication skills

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Articulate the psychology theories and concepts applicable to the design of games and digital experiences K
002 Apply psychological theories and research to critically analyze the design of games and digital environments CP
003 Generate proposals and prototypes for a well-rounded game design incorporating personal, social, and ethical considerations CP
004 Present ideas in oral and/or written format effectively T
005 Work creatively and collaboratively with other members of a team T

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to include lectures paired with discussion and practical work to introduce and apply psychology principles in game design. Workshops and student-led seminars will facilitate students in their work on designing the prototype and obtaining feedback before finalizing their proposal.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: PSYM155

Other information

The School of Psychology is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module contributes to the development of the following capabilities:


Employability: This module will help equip students with the skills and knowledge to critically analyze existing practice and create new ideas in the design of games and digital experiences. Transferrable skills in team work will also be developed via course work. Assignments can be readily used to demonstrate to potential employers what students will be able to contribute.


Global and Cultural Capabilities: The module will help students develop knowledge and sensitivity towards the diverse needs of game players from different background and the different ethical considerations involved. Teaching materials will incorporate readings and examples from different parts of the world and people from different backgrounds. Group-based learning activities offers a chance for students to learn from each other, thus building such competencies as cross-cultural understanding and tolerance.


Digital Capabilities: This module will enhance and develop students’ capabilities in the analysis of games often in the digital context. Students will use SurreyLearn and a range of software that facilitates in-class group activities, meetings, and presentation.


Resourcefulness and Resilience: Students will use a range of sources to find solutions for real-life problems, which will help develop resourcefulness. Working in groups during class exercise and group work will help develop the habit and skills to learn from each other. Students will be encouraged to share their personal experiences and expertise to reflect on challenges faced by individuals in different contexts as well as ways to overcome them.


Sustainability: Many of the examples used in the class involves social, economic, and environmental problems psychologists help to address, and students will get to appreciate the importance of social and ethical considerations in promoting sustainability in areas like wellbeing, equality, etc.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Psychology in Game Design and Digital Innovation MSc 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2024/5 academic year.