Prisoner of Words: Lessons learnt from mobile gamification of lab memory experiments
Paper in proceeding, 2021

Gamifying experiments in-the-wild showed promising opportunities in supporting participants' engagement, increasing sample size and diversity, and saving lab and personnel resources needed for lab experiments. However, transforming memory lab experiments to mobile games is challenging as some standard game design guidelines jeopardize the validity of the experimental design. Our work draws attention to this trade-off by providing design guidelines for critical game elements, namely scoring systems and input methods. We distil those guidelines from a case study where we replicated a lab memory experiment via a mobile game apparatus and produced congruent psychological results. Our work sheds the light on the special challenges in gamifying memory experiments and encourages psychologists and game designers to investigate human memory in natural settings.


Lab experiments

Serial recall

In-the-wild deployments

Mobile games

Design space


Passant Elagroudy

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU)

Pedram Khoshdani

JDisc GmBH

Tilman Dingler

University of Melbourne

Geoffrey Ward

University of Essex

Pawel W. Wozniak

Chalmers, Computer Science and Engineering (Chalmers), Interaction design

Albrecht Schmidt

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU)

CHI PLAY 2021 - Extended Abstracts of the 2021 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play

9781450383561 (ISBN)

8th ACM SIGCHI Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play, CHI PLAY 2021
Virtual, Online, Austria,

Subject Categories


Interaction Technologies

Human Computer Interaction



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