By Georgina Wade
Researchers in Sweden and Finland are pointing to computer games as a possible method of engaging farmers with scientific research and help them adapt to climate change.
Through the development of an interactive web-based maladaptation game, researchers tested stakeholders with four agricultural challenges: precipitation, temperature increase/drought, longer growing seasons and increased risk of pests and weeds. For each challenge, players were told to make a strategic decision based on the options given, that were then combined to form a list of potential negative outcomes based on their decisions.
The research is presented in the article “Benefits and challenges of serious gaming – the case of “The Maladaptation Game” and published in the journal Open Agriculture. She believes her findings provide insight into cognitive behaviour.
“While we observed that the conceptual thinking of the game sometimes clashes with the players’ everyday experience and practice, we believe gaming may function as an eye-opener to new ways of thinking,” explains Asplund.
Asplund also suggests that games should be designed to include elements of thinking and sharing, which will stimulate reflection and discussion among stakeholders.
Access the game here: http://maladaptationgame.info/