There are literally thousands of online games that you can play and billions of people in fact play these games. Even if you’re not an online game addict, the chances are you spend at least part of your recreation (or work?) time taking advantage of some type of entertainment. The fact that you’re reading this blog suggests that you’re already interested in psychology (either that or you clicked a wrong link!). I’ve sifted through the myriad of available psychology games and tests to give you a sampling of the ones most likely to help you gain both self-understanding and knowledge about our fascinating field.
From tests of memory to puzzles involving logical reasoning, this set of website games includes some of the great classics of your childhood (“Concentration”) to well-known psychology demonstrations (“Towers of Hanoi”). You can browse through these simple yet elegant online games either on your own or in competition with friends. Put together by Dr. Christopher Heffner, this is a great way for you to start a psych lab right at your own desk.
BBC Science: Human Body and Mind
You don’t need to be British to enjoy and learn from the BBC’s website collection of psychology tests and games. The authors of this website clearly label each test’s purpose and length needed to play, so there is no deception here. You’ll have the chance to measure your personality traits, discover your musical talents, find out if you’re a super taster, see what sex your brain is, and be fooled (or not) by illusions, both famous and obscure. Even if you’ve already run into this site, you’ll want to check it out again because the BBC frequently updates it.
National Geographic Channel Brain Games
One of my all-time favorite psychology video series is Nat Geo’s “Brain Games.” On this companion website, you can catch the main effects demonstrated in the series and learn about the how’s and why’s of your brain’s strange habits.
The Stroop Effect
Though this test is on Washington University’s “Neuroscience for Kids” website, don’t be lured into thinking these tests are just childplay. The Stroop effect is a classic demonstration that also is used for testing the ability to inhibit a response, an important component of so-called “executive” functioning by the brain’s prefrontal lobes. Even if you’re an expert neuropsychologist, you’ll still find this task to be a challenge, guaranteed!
The Wonders of Development
As much a game as an educational tool, this Annenberg Foundation website, developed for the video series Discovering Psychology, will guide you through the basic of life from “womb to tomb.” This is a great way for anyone from high school through college (and beyond) to gain insight into the miraculous process of growth along with engaging videos and activities.
Psych Week from Discovery Channel
This website supports Discovery Channel’s videos on “Psych Week” and includes both videos and a collection of self-tests and quizzes. You can explore mental illness myths, unusual phobias and addictions, relationship dynamics, and coping skills, to name a few. The website also contains helpful links to educational resources on mental health.
About.com Personality Quizzes
This excellent psychology resource includes several useful personality tests including the “Big Five” Personality Quiz and a test to assess which Psychology Career is right for you. A word of warning: Stick with the questions that show the page icon and don’t click on the ads, which will take you off the site.
Video Perception Tests
I won’t give away the fun by telling you what these tests measure, but suffice it to say that they assess your visual abilities in ways that will surprise you. Don’t be put off by the dates seeming old. These are definite psych-movie classics worth seeing (and I do mean “seeing”).
These may not be the most scientific tests you’ll ever find, but they’re clever and cover a range of topics. Included is the famous “Eliza,” a computer-generated therapist that was popular back in the 80’s (or was it 70’s??). Be careful not to click on the ad links and you’ll have a jolly good laugh over some of the questions you’ll discover here. However, you can click on the links to other tests such as the next one below.
A production of Bryn Mawr, Serendip is an extensive psychology resource with many valuable sections to teach you first-hand about psychology. Included, for example, is The Prisoner’s Dilemma, a classic social psychology experiment pits you against someone else (in this case a cyber-partner) in a betting match designed to test the conditions under which people cooperate or compete. Clicking on “the brain and behavior” will give you access both to these informative websites and more games and demonstrations.
Hanover College’s Psychology Tutorials
I’ve often turned to this resource for teaching materials but you don’t have to be a psychology instructor to have fun on the site. The site is constantly being updated, and you’ll have to click around to see which games you’d like to play. Some of the links lead to experiments and others to tutorials. Because this website was developed for a cognition lab, it’s not quite as user-friendly to the non-professional. However, if you do teach psychology at the high school or college level, you’ll find some great ideas for classroom demos you can conduct with your students.
University of Massachusetts Lowell Illusions Gallery
My colleagues from the another University of Massachusetts campus have developed a great set of visual illusions that work very well on the screen. The explanations are easy to follow and the designs are guaranteed to produce fascinating results!
London’s Museum of Science
Once again, we head to the UK for demonstrations and a few tests, this time under the heading “Who am I?” One of the more intriguing games on this site is “Thingdom” in which you adopt, care for, and make baby things.
If you have suggestions of free tests that you've found helpful, I'd love to hear them and I will add them to this site after checking them out. As a guide, I steered away from the brain-age types of diagnostic games which are proprietary and not strictly “demonstrations" as well as other test sites that required a login.
With that in mind, let the games begin!
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Copyright Susan Krauss Whitbourne 2012