Books and Resources

New to Game Design? Behavior Design? Neuroscience?

Here are some books and resources to get you started.

Do you have recommendations for our growing list?  Email your contribution.


Behavior Design

Cowley, B., & Charles D. (2016). Behavlets: a method for practical player modelling using psychology-based player traits and domain specific features. User Modeling and User-Adapted Interaction: The Journal of Personalization Research. doi:10.1007/s11257-016-9170-1.

Kim, S. (2013). Neuroscientific model of motivational process. Front. Psychol.

Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55, 68-78.

Fogg, B. (2020). Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything. ISBN: 978-0358362777

Fogg, B. (2009). A behavior model for persuasive design. Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Persuasive Technology – Persuasive ’09. doi:10.1145/1541948.1541999

Fogg, B. (2009). The Behavior Grid. Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Persuasive Technology – Persuasive ’09. doi:10.1145/1541948.1542001

Sparkman, G. & Walton, G. (2017). Dynamic Norms Promote Sustainable Behavior, Even if It Is Counternormative. APS: Psychological Science. doi:10.1177/0956797617719950


Game Design

Bartle, R. A. (2004). Designing virtual worlds. Berkeley, Calif: New Riders.

DeKoven, B. (n.d.). The well-played game: A player’s philosophy.

Fernandez, E. J. (2010, October 30). Print Your Own Version of SCVNGR’s Game Mechanics Flash Cards. Retrieved August 23, 2016, from

Koster, R. (2005). A theory of fun for game design. Scottsdale, AZ: Paraglyph Press.

Lazzaro, N. (n.d.). Research. Retrieved August 24, 2016, from

McGuire, M., & Jenkins, O. C. (2009). Creating games: Mechanics, content, and technology. Wellesley, MA: AK Peters.

Priebatsch, S. (2010, July). The game layer on top of the world. Speech presented at TEDxBoston in MA, Boston. Retrieved from

Schell, J. (2010, February). When games invade real life. Speech presented at Dice Summit 2010 in Nevada, Las Vegas. Retrieved from

Schell, J. (2015). The art of game design a book of lenses. Boca Raton, Fla.: CRC Press.

Schonfeld, E. (2010, August 25). SCVNGR’s Secret Game Mechanics Playdeck. Retrieved August 23, 2016, from

Sellers, M. (2017). Advanced Game Design: A Systems Approach. ISBN: 978-0134667607

Tekinbaş, K. S., & Zimmerman, E. (2006). The game design reader: A Rules of play anthology. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.



Bailey, K., West, R., & Anderson, C. A. (2011). The Influence of Video Games on Social, Cognitive, and Affective Information Processing. Oxford Handbooks Online. doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195342161.013.0066

Correia, P., & Henriques, B. (n.d.). Can Video Games Benefit the Cognitive Abilities of the Elderly Population? Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, Third Edition, 3022-3030. doi:10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch295

Gallegos, K., & Mansberger, N. (2010). The effect of video game use on cognitive abilities of boys and girls.

Green, C. S., & Bavelier, D. (2003). Action video game modifies visual selective attention. Nature, 423(6939), 534-537. doi:10.1038/nature01647

Hodent, C. (2015). Cognitive Psychology Applied to User Experience in Video Games. Encyclopedia of Computer Graphics and Games, 1-6. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-08234-9_53-1

Hoeft, F., Watson, C. L., Kesler, S. R., Bettinger, K. E., & Reiss, A. L. (2008). Gender differences in the mesocorticolimbic system during computer game-play. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 42(4), 253-258. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2007.11.010

Huang, W. D., & Tettegah, S. Y. (n.d.). Emotions, technology, and digital games.

Koepp, M.J. et al. Evidence for striatal dopamine release during a video game. Nature 393, 266−268

Langlois, M. (2011, November 08). Dopey About Dopamine: Video Games, Drugs, & Addiction. Retrieved August 24, 2016, from

Linden, D. J. (2011, October 25). Video Games Can Activate the Brain’s Pleasure Circuits. Psychology Today.

Liu, N., Mok, C., Witt, E. E., Pradhan, A. H., Chen, J. E., & Reiss, A. L. (2016). NIRS-Based Hyperscanning Reveals Inter-brain Neural Synchronization during Cooperative Jenga Game with Face-to-Face Communication. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience Front. Hum. Neurosci., 10. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2016.00082

Roepke, A. M., Jaffee, S. R., Riffle, O. M., Mcgonigal, J., Broome, R., & Maxwell, B. (2015). Randomized Controlled Trial of SuperBetter, a Smartphone-Based/Internet-Based Self-Help Tool to Reduce Depressive Symptoms. Games for Health Journal, 4(3), 235-246. doi:10.1089/g4h.2014.0046

Schlesinger, V., Johnson, S., & Panter, G. (2007, July 9). This is Your Brain on Video GamesDiscover Magazine: Brain 2007.