Beyond Strategy and Winning, How Games Teach Kids Empathy

“When players compete against each other in a game, they try to make a mental model of the other person’s intentions, what they’re going to do and how they’re going to play, so they can play strategically against them,” explains one of the study’s authors Kyle Mathewson, who worked alongside lead author Lusha Zhu


This “mental model” of other people’s thoughts and feelings, also known as theory of mind, is crucial for the development of empathy, perspective-taking, and social reciprocity—all the skills that allow us to get along productively with others.