The Psychology Podcast

Jane McGonigal || Playing Games with the Future

Episode Notes

Today we welcome Jane McGonigal. She is a world-renowned game designer who challenges players to tackle real-world problems such as poverty, depression, and climate change through collaboration. Jane is also a future forecaster, serving as the current Director of Games Research & Development at the Institute for the Future. Her games and forecasting work have been featured in The New York Times, Wired, The Economist, CNN, NPR and more. As a two-time New York Times bestselling author, she has recently published her third book called Imaginable. 

In this episode, I talk to Jane McGonigal about the intersection of gaming and future forecasting. Jane asserts that games are not just for escapist entertainment; they could also be used to help prepare us for what’s to come. Imagining fictional simulations can inspire us to make present changes which can influence our personal and collective futures for the better. We also touch on the topics of creativity, psychotherapy, forecasting, hope, and tech. 


Twitter: @avantgame



02:08 Futurist game design

05:44 Imagination and the psychological safety of games

09:17 Forecasting and psychotherapy 

15:54 Urgent optimism

21:10 Predicting the COVID-19 pandemic in 2010

23:52 Can we predict our own futures?

27:50 Affective vs behavioral forecasting

34:05 The Institute for the Future

36:52 Future scenarios change present behavior

41:41 The perils and promise of facial recognition

47:24 Assessment and benefits of futurist imagination

52:45 The need for more longitudinal studies