Research: Quandary: The Impact on Moral Development

Quandary is an educational online game that uses engaging storylines and characters to challenge players, aged eight to 14 years, to make difficult ethical decisions through considering the perspectives of others. This project is a collaboration with Professor Marina Bers of Tufts University, and is supported by the Poses Family Foundation. The project investigated the impact of playing the Quandary computer game on dimensions of children’s moral development. We explored the effects of playing three existing Quandary episodes and measured the impact of the episodes on children’s moral functioning and ability to take the perspective of others. In addition, we designed and implemented a school-based curriculum, called Project 360, in partnership with Citizen Schools. Sixth grade students played the Quandary computer game and applied the perspective-taking and problem-solving skills developed through game play to a real-life “quandary” in their community chosen by students: bullying. Through youth-led strategies that included surveying classmates and engaging in a panel discussion with school administrators and local high school students, the sixth graders gained a greater understanding of the issue and the diverse perspectives of members of their community. The students presented this understanding and discussed their own research process in a final presentation to family, friends, and local community members.