CPA convention at Winnipeg

It’s been over two weeks since the Canadian Psychological Association convention was held in Winnipeg. Since that time, I was procrastinating. Its unfortunate side effect is memory and motivation loss.

There’s only two videogame-related posters at the convention and I spent the rest of my time touring the city. (more on that after the posters)

The first is from Ulric Wong (University of Calgary, going to Simon Fraser Uni I think), he presented his poster on video game addiction and we had some gooddiscussion about the topic. We segued a bit into Anderson’s meta-analysis and then went back on topic.

Abstract

The Dislocation Theory of Addiction asserts that psychosocial integration is essential to well-being. Addiction is a response to a lack of psychosocial integration. In this study, the Dislocation Theory’s assertions were tested through an online survey of 317 video game players. A lack of psychosocial integration, as measured by social connectedness, was found to be a significant predictor of addictive video game play but not engagement with video games. A deficit in well-being, as measured by depression and anxiety, was confirmed to be a significant mediator through which a lack of psychosocial integration affects addictive video game play. These results were interpreted as evidence supporting the relationship between a lack of psychosocial integration and addictive behaviour predicted by the Dislocation Theory. Furthermore, this suggests that the motivation for addictive video game play is similar to the motivation to relieve a dysphoric mood seen in Pathological Gambling.

He used the same measures from Charlton & Danforth (2007). We also talked about Keith Bakker, had a similar opinion about videogame addiction. I mentioned the Dualistic model of Passion to Ulric and sought how it might integrate with addiction. I sent him the study (the one from the last year’s convention).

The second is on the effects of music tempo on videogame play by Gillian Berman (originally from Algoma University, going elsewhere.. I forgot…). Her advisor stood for while she’s somewhere else.

Abstract

Music is an important aspect of videogames, and an important component of music is tempo (i.e., fast or slow beat). Research has shown that, depending on type of music and context, tempo can either elevate or depress both mood and performance. Perhaps there is an optimal tempo for enhancing performance and enjoyment of videogames. Seventy-five participants played the videogame Tetris while listening to either slow-, medium-, or fast-tempo music. Fast tempo produced better performance scores (p = .033) and faster speed of play (p = .048), but did not affect enjoyment. Players rated the fast-tempo music as more exciting, suggesting that faster music stimulates the player causing them to play more quickly, allowing for more opportunities to score points. Optimal tempo manipulations could not only be used to enhance videogames, but also to enhance workplace productivity, especially in cases where speed and performance are paramount.

At first glance, it’s a very simple study that demonstrated a clear effect. But on closer inspection, I had the urge to cry out ‘Haaa Ha! Familiprix’ (see video). First, she cut out participants with high outlier scores, indicative of experienced players and so they’re left with inexperienced participants. Second, that speed of play is actually the number of clicks or rotations performed in the two and a half minutes participants go through. The high number of rotations may indicate faster processing, but possibly higher error rates (like overshooting the rotation). A third negative implication inspired from Phil Zimbardo (because I saw this video from Boing Boing), having everyone play or work with a high tempo or switching them into a high pace of time can be stressful.

My poster presentation was quiet and had a few conversations with some people. Some  people from the University of Calgary mentioned a former grad student (Amanda Bolton, the Harry Potter psychologist) who has the same interests as I do. A guy talked about how videogames feed children’s narcissism, which Sid Meier had also said a similar thing in his GDC 2010 talk (I should watch it again). Well, that’s about it for the convention.

Winnipeg is boring. Skip it and go to Vancouver. If I had my laptop with me, I might’ve written that post with fresh memories, but I was afraid of losing it during the plane ride or something and good thing there are written notes. Anyways, I toured the city with Caroline, the research coordinator of the lab I’m affiliated with (for a good 3 years).

When we landed in Winnipeg’s airport, it had a retro and depressing look in contrast to Montreal airport’s modern appeal. It looks like it had never seen a renovation since the 60’s. It’s so small when I stepped from the gate, I could see the exit. We had a limo ride from a guy called Amir and Caroline had a pleasant talk, while I’m silently watching the foreign place I landed. One thing I noticed is that the benches have ads on them which is never seen in Montreal. We stopped at the Delta hotel where the convention is held and we went to the nearby Paragon restaurant for a meal. The proportions there are bigger, Caroline couldn’t finish her Alfredo and knowing my appetite, she let me finish her meal. It was too creamy.

After that, I went presenting my poster. When that’s done, we went outside touring Winnipeg. It suddenly turned into a downpour that we went to the Bay so I could buy an umbrella for myself (Caroline had her own, but I felt it was too small given how intense the storm was). The store was comparatively empty, there are not many stuff to look around that I’d expect from the Bay. Again, this shows how dull Winnipeg is. Hail began to fall as Caroline called it.

After the storm subsided, we went to Osbourne Village and again found it uninteresting besides the fact that there are a lot of tattoo parlours in that area. We stopped at a few stores and Caroline bought a cute cat purse from Hikosen Cara (Later the next day, I bought a pillow cat). We went to Mac’s (they’re called Couche Tard in Quebec), a convenience store and found something troubling: a six flavour slushie machine (root beer, sprite, yummyberry cherry, coke, phantom banana etc.) and with different sizes which are appalling to me, they’re medium size is our large size and they have an extra large that could’ve hold 2 liters of slushie. I should’ve brought one home…

We went to the Forks and looked for the historical site. It turns out that historical site is about 500 meters away from we were lead to believe to be. Since I wanted to experience local food and none I could find, I bought Elk Jerky and we tasted it. Thus, we finally tasted a novelty and it was different alright. I can’t describe it and the closest to what Caroline was that it probably had a higher iron content. Anyways, we asked the guy who sold us the jerky to where we can eat some bison meat (after seeing bison meat in his counter). He helpfully directed us to a resto-bar that serves it. We went to the only breathtaking sight in Winnipeg which is the pedestrian bridge, the Esplanade Riel.

So, we continued our tour and remarked a lot things like: the fonts in their ads looks old, the stop sex with kids ads on buses raised our eyebrows, but also smirks. The construction of the Human Rights Museum reminded Caroline of a Stalinist-era building. A lot of Subways restaurant, but not a single McDonald’s within sight (they must have hidden them outside of Downtown). There are fewer skyscrapers than Montreal and it makes downtown seemed like zoning mishmash as Caroline noted that there’s a high rise building and then something totally different next to it. It was weird and confusing. The drivers are way nicer than Montreal’s, they actually stop when we cross the street. Over in Montreal, you’ll always get the feeling these drivers would run you over if you’re too slow or cut you off if they get the chance.

Supper time was upon us and we went to that place where we can get some bison burger and it wasn’t good. Again the proportions were huge, the meat is charred and it didn’t taste any different from beef. Poor Caroline couldn’t finish half of it and I couldn’t help this time. We went back to our hotel room and watched some local television. The ads over there are very different from Quebec. Quite notably how often the ads for men are shown more frequently than here. But then again, I haven’t watched television for a very long time. So this is a biased opinion. I didn’t slept well because we had the impression that the sun never sets down in Winnipeg and we were still awake at 5am with a thick morning fog.

The second day in Winnipeg was also my last day. We wrote down notes of our tour and tallied the bills during breakfast. I stayed a little while because of the second poster. When I was done, I went straight to the airport via the city bus (it took just 20 minutes to the airport in comparison to 40-60 minutes for Montreal). Caroline’s flight was at 4pm and I took the earlier flight out. Coming home was the best part, seeing the city was relief itself. I spotted numerous landmarks, like the Olympic Stadium, the Cote Vertu terminus station, Cote Vertu Plaza and the IKEA store.

So that’s my first and only trip to Winnipeg. If I were to fly to Vancouver, I’d make sure to have a connecting flight to Calgary. Now I’m worried if Columbus would be the same… Well it’s going to be a bit different since I’ll be connected online.

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3 thoughts on “CPA convention at Winnipeg

  1. Wow, you truly are an asshole. Typical of Montreal, though. And you’re a psychologist and you smirked at an ad that was against child molestation?! You think child prostitution and molestation is funny? Wow, that’s pretty scary! Perhaps I should forward this post to the CPA. In fact, I think I will right now.

  2. I haven’t made myself clear on the ad against child molestation. What I saw on those bus ads was three men looking out. It did not immediately made clear to me what was the message until I saw the text. Hence, the raised eyebrows and smirks.

    I remember a similar ad campaign in Montreal a few years ago, (but couldn’t find the image) where there was a child’s drawing of a sad girl with a red mark on her lower middle body or a sad boy with a blue spot on his left eye. That was something that immediately made clear to many people to what the ad is about.

    I am unapologetic about my comments about Winnipeg itself. No, I’m not a psychologist, just an amateur who happens to read psych studies on videogames. Have I been trolled?

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