Psychology in Sims

My favorite game in the whole entire world would have to be The Sims any kind, I love them all so I had to find an article on The Sims 3 a fairly recent Sims game that came out. When I was looking up article I wanted to find the most perfect one to do, and I came across one that was called “Exploring the Mysteries of the Mind with the Sims 3”. When I read this title I automatically was thinking that this had to do something with psychology since it had the word “mind” in it. I thought that the main concept would be about why and what type of people play Sims, I thought that that would be cool because it would give me an excuse to tell my mom why I play this game all the time.

When I first started to read this I was completely wrong in what it was talking about. This had to do with scientist and ethics, in the era when Nazi around they did unethical experiments but as this article states “without them, we never would have discovered the yield elasticity of the elderly. ” No matter how sad this does sounds it does make a little bit of sense, I do not think that this is what the Nazis’ had in mind but that is what we are getting out of it. The quote that kept me reading this article is “The Sims 3 is computer game based on these Nazi scientists that offers us a world of moral ambiguity, free to perform psychological experiments away from the leering eye of ethics.” With this quote what I got from it was that The Sims 3 is a way to perform psychiatric experiments without judgement  The hard part in this is to make a game that would replicate human behaviors. For a side note example in WarGames when WOPR needed to think for himself to understand that playing thermonuclear war was a bad idea, to win that game he needed to think like a human and understand that there was no way to win without everyone to lose. Just like in Sims they are trying to make it so that artificial intelligence would be there to have human thought program (this will be more clear at the end).

In this test he wanted to figure out if the characters could think on there own and if they would behave the way that a human would do. Creating a person would be the most important because there had to be a reason for every way the person was designed. He made him fat, clown make up, and gave him unpredictable personality traits like insane, hydrophobic, and can’t stand art.”

He also gave him Genius and Computer Whiz in thought that the intelligence of being a genius would give him the idea of understanding who he is and what the creator was doing to him. He also had a roommate that was a baby that was brave, he does not say why he put the baby in there because it even says in the article that  “it was only a matter of time before it was destroyed.” Mean towards a baby right? So I started to think why he would want a baby in there in the first place, like why he could not have just left him alone..why a baby? I thought it was because everyone loves babies because they are so innocent therefore it would give the main character something to love and he would forget his problems. After the people are made the logical thing to do next would be designing the house for them to live in. He called  it the Mental Institution of the Future.

Everything in the “house” had a place and a reason to be there, it is designed to get over your fears in my opinion. For example to get to the food he would have to go in the pool to the other side to get real food or he could just eat the cake that is out. It has a mirror corner so he could look at himself and realize that he was overweight and out of shape.

With all of these said he had 10 experiments for the character to see how he would react. The experiments in order are called observation without interference, Saw 2, Revenge of the Hydrophobe, Memory test, A glitch in the Matrix, The cleansing Fire, Fractures in Timespace, Isolation, The effects of Torture on the Afterlife, and Attempting to recreate the Experiment I am not going to talk about all of them because they do not all have to deal with what I am trying to say but if you want to see them then they all here. I think that the main ones to see what happened is the difference between the first experiment and the last experiment.

The first experiment was called “Observation Without Interference”, in this experiment all the player did was watch what happened. Which was interesting because to show that the hydrophobia was actually true he did not have enough strength inside of him to swim across the pool and get real food. All he did for 14 hours is talk through a stuffed animal to the baby and that was that day. After a whole bunch of stuff and crazy things happened to the character, after all the 9 experiments have came to a crazy end and the character was dead and a ghost (a real horrible life if you read all the experiments). In Sims when you create a character it saves a copy of them, with that said the player tried to recreate the experiment there was a different outcome. In this time around the Sim rummaged in the trash for 25 hours and then ran into the pool to sink and die. Now I do not know what other people think about this but I feel like this is a good representation of how artificial intelligence is thinking. It had to know and remember that his previous life was really bad to go and kill himself. On the other hand it could have also been that the computer just saved the thing as a memory but then how would he know that he had a bad life if computers do not have feelings or know what sadness is to want and commit suicide?

  3 comments for “Psychology in Sims

  1. Allison
    April 18, 2013 at 10:52 am

    These are interesting points you have brought up. I do have a couple questions. Firstly, I am uncertain as to a term that was mentioned early on in the blog when it was discussing a kind of correlation of SIMS to the Nazi regime. Can you explain to me what “yield elasticity of the elderly” is? Your blog is inquisitive, and Seanbaby’s article makes interesting points, though I don’t see how a computer character can legitimately have human feelings. And touching on the question of “moral ambiguity”, it is a game after all, and perhaps the article blurs the distinctions that need to be made between reality and SIMS. We have been discussing all semester about a moral context that often does not apply real life consequences for the player and characters which would take place in the word we live in. Perhaps the tiniest reflection on Nazi experimentation could be made, but the game is not defined by that.

  2. Kip Casper
    April 18, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    I think you give the Sims too much credit. Sure, there are a lot of traits you can give your character but I’d say it is far from true artificial intelligence. It seems more like some sort of boolean statement (you are either near water or not. If you are near water, make sure you are not).

    Were the person made to be caring, empathetic, fatherly, and many other nurturing statements as well as hydrophobic, and he needed to feed his baby with food only available across the pool, would he still give into his hydrophobia? True intelligence is weighing the pros and cons, and ultimately giving into one side. If we could see the “thought process” or code to determine what went through his head, maybe we can find artificial intelligence. It would almost be scary if they could remember… the horror I put my Sims through doesn’t come close to what seanbaby can come up with, but I’d still feel bad.

    I would love to see a character’s programming run through a whole list of “Turbo Sexophonic (baby’s name) needs food. Have to cross water to get to food. Water is bad. Turbo Sexophonic starving is bad. Water is worse. No food for Turbo Sexophonic.”

  3. isolemnlyswear
    January 30, 2015 at 2:59 am

    Your points about the experiment are very interesting but some points I disagree with. First, I don’t necessarily agree with the point you brought up with the SIMS as an artificial intelligence. The points during the experiment were the sim tended to the baby or when he didn’t participate in the experiments could be explained that a different element of his programmed character influenced his decision. Also, you discuss the suicide of the second character as a means of artificial intelligence. I don’t think that that was the case for the experiment. Games like these are often randomized so I agree with the Kip Casper’s comment above that you give the Sims too much credit. The programming could have resulting in the new character’s death but to say that remembering may be a little over the top for the game’s capabilities. Overall, the whole concept of experimenting on sims in an interesting idea to me because they don’t necessarily react as humans would react so we feel like we can overdue some of the torture elements in the game. Your post was very interesting to read.

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