Information on research topics
and research ressources at the LFE

Games, Cultures and Values

Play is an essential part of children’s socialization and emerges universally. But how does children’s play vary over the diverse populations on our world? How does playing influence children’s behavior? Do cultural values and play influence one another?

In our projects, we focus on these imminent questions. However, we are not investigating play in general, but take a closer look at games. Games are a special form of play—they are characterized by rules that are negotiated before playing. To learn more about the relationship between games and culture, we want to explore games that are played in various cultures around the world.

In one of our ongoing projects, we are investigating the influence cultural values and cultural traits have on the games played in different cultures. Societies might spontaneously develop games and enjoy playing games that coincide with their values. For this project, the content and structure of games is extracted from historical game descriptions and is related to the values of the culture.

Furthermore, we are investigating the effects of games on children’s behavior. Hence, we developed a game with the help of a game designer. This game, “KoKo”, can either be played cooperatively, competitively, or solitarily. In an experimental design, we explore how these different gaming contexts influence preschooler’s sharing behavior and inclusion of others.

Our findings could shed new light on the importance of games in children’s enculturation and transmission of cultural knowledge. Games can be seen as a mediator of values directly influencing children’s social behavior and morality. In doing so, games help to maintain the values of the society over the course of generations.

M.Sc. Sarah Peoples
Games, Cultures and Values
Dr. Theo Toppe
Games, Cultures and Values