Structure of Corrective Feedback for Selection of Ineffective Vegetable Parenting Practices for Use in a Simulation Videogame

Games Health J. 2013 Feb;2(1):29-33. doi: 10.1089/g4h.2012.0057.


A serious videogame is being developed to train parents of preschool children in selecting and using parenting practices that are likely to encourage their child to eat more vegetables. The structure of feedback to the parents on their selection may influence what they learn from the game. Feedback Intervention Theory provides some guidance on the design of such messages. The structure of preferred performance feedback statements has not been investigated within serious videogames. Two feedback formats were tested for a player's preferences within the context of this videogame. Based on Feedback Intervention Theory, which proposes that threat to self-concept impairs feedback response, three-statement (a nonaffirming comment sandwiched between two affirming comments, called "Oreo" feedback, which should minimize threat to self-concept) and two-statement (a nonaffirming comment followed by an affirming comment) performance feedbacks were tailored to respondents. Tailoring was based on participants' report of frequency of use of effective and ineffective vegetable parenting practices and the reasons for use of the ineffective practices. Participants selected their preference between the two forms of feedback for each of eight ineffective vegetable parenting practices. In general, mothers (n=81) (no male respondents) slightly preferred the "Oreo" feedback, but the pattern of preferences varied by demographic characteristics. Stronger relationships by income suggest the feedback structure should be tailored to family income. Future research with larger and more diverse samples needs to test whether perceived threat to self-concept mediates the response to feedback and otherwise verify these findings.