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Emotional and Behavioral Changes as Competitive Card Game Progresses

Study created and analyzed by Humza Nasir
Hypothesis: As the game progresses subjects will become more emotional and less friendly
towards each other.
5 subjects were present for the observation with a time restriction of 45 minutes. I
informed the subjects that they would be playing a card game and that I would be observing their
behavior and recording their emotional status.
Before beginning the game, I asked each subject how they felt emotionally. Subject 1 felt
happy but monotonous, Subject 2 felt happy, Subject 3 felt happy and excited, Subject 4 felt
excited, and Subject 5 felt exhausted and calm. I then announced that there would be a $20
reward for the winner. I introduced this reward to promote competitive behavior among the
subjects. I then asked again how they felt, Subject 1 felt apprehensive, Subject 2 felt nervous,
Subject 3 felt distressed, Subject 4 felt anxious, and Subject 5 felt calm.
START OF GAME
The subjects behaved in a jovial manner, joking and laughing with each other, I am
informed by the subjects that this is their normal behavior. Friendly behavior continues for a
time, then the subjects began to banter. Subject 4 laughs easily and often. Subject 3 informs me
his anxiety is lessening. Subject 1 remains somewhat serious throughout the most of the game.
All subjects appear to be behaving normally. Subject 4 feels atmosphere is intense. Subject 3
feels indecisive towards victory. All subjects are doubting my intention to give the reward but
play seriously anyway.
10 MINUTES INTO GAME
Atmosphere remains relatively cheerful. Subjects begin to feel animosity towards Subject
5. Subject 4 states he feels aggression from all other subjects. Subject 3 feels joy. Subject 5 feels
unsatisfied, as I prompted him to elaborate, he said he feels the game will not finish within 45
minutes. Though Subject 5 is more staid than other subjects.
20 MINUTES INTO GAME
Subjects becoming more staid. Subject 3 feels dismal. 1 is not interested in reward but is
playing for pleasure, generally enjoying himself. Subject 2 feels reward is nice incentive but does
not feel pressured by its presence. Subject 3 says he wants the reward, claims to be greedy, and
states he is playing more aggressively in order to win because of reward. Subject 4 is very
interested in the reward, says he is motivated to play more competitively to win. Also feels
frustrated and is playing more aggressively.
30 MINUTES INTO GAME

Subjects becoming more aggressive towards each other, banter is becoming less friendly
and more insulting. Subject 5 feels especially aggravated, feels pressure from time restraint.
Subjects 4 and 5 are experiencing much anger and irritation. Subjects are commenting on “silent
alliances” being formed. I did not observe their formation, as I was watching the subjects more
than the game, but from viewing the subjects play, patterns appeared that indicated some subjects
were working together. Subjects 2 and 3 were especially noticeable. Serious atmosphere
beginning to form. Subject 3 feels sad, Subject 4 distraught, Subject subject 2 is having fun,
Subject 1 feels amazing, Subject 5 is aggressively excited, recieved a large boost in confidence
after succeeding in a play that increased his chances towards victory. Subjects inform me that
they are playing much more aggressively than they would have without the reward.
40 MINUTES INTO GAME
Play is becoming more rapid. Subjects 1-4 are staid while 5 behaves erratically and
believes he is the real winner. Jovial attitude resumes. Subjects begin to become very aggressive,
and are acting on that aggression in the game. Subjects carrying out attacks for revenge from
early in the game. Subject 2 did achieve victory as the observation time ended.
POST GAME
I am informed by Subject 3 that he and Subject 2 had formed an alliance early in the
game to split the reward if either won. Subject 3 also informed me that his anxiety was so great
he was sweating profusely throughout the game.
Conclusion: The study disproved my hypothesis because as the game progressed subjects did not
become less friendly. They retained a jovial attitude throughout most of the game, which only
stopped for brief periods of time, as the observation period drew to a close the subjects were
becoming more emotional but it was not drawn out significantly enough throughout the game to
support a valid claim.