The validity of gaming techniques has come under increasing attack in recent years The present article examines claims for and criticisms of the use of games in the study of conflict. Gaming proponents have cited four major functions of games: (a) an analogy, or model, of actual conflict situations, (b) a heuristic device to provide new ways of thinking, (c) a device to separate rational solutions to conflict from those affected by psychological and sociological factors, and (d) a simple experimental tool to test theoretically relevant hypotheses about conflict. Critics have attacked the use of games by pointing out (a) the triviality of game results, (b) a possible lack of reproducibility of the findings, (c) the difficulty of relating game choices to motivation, (d) the inappropriateness of many generalizations made from such studies, (e) the nondynamic nature of the game situation, and (f) the lack of isomorphism between game situations and naturally occurnng conflicts. Examination of these advantages and criticisms allowed their differentiation into questions of internal validity, external validity, and ecological (real world) validity The most potent criticisms of games are directed at the ecological validity issue. It is the contention of the present paper that ecological validity raises questions for the evaluation of theories of conflict, not for the evaluation of gaming paradigms that permit the study of conflict.
Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research
Choose a citation style from the tabs below