A multiliteracy approach to the use of archetypical narratives in video games - relations to social skills and moral development (PhD project)

The present research is part of the emergent need to study the impact of alternative resources for educational purposes. With the advance of a new society, new educational models are required and so are innovative pedagogical tools. This proposal intends to explore the relation between the educational use of videogames and the social and moral development among the youth, and it will examine the question of what the relationship is between narrative archetypes in video games and young people’s learning and development of moral and social skills


The present research has as main questions:

  1. What kind of relations are there between narratives and the construction of social models in popular video games and the archetypical mythical symbols of the cultural heritage in myths/folktales?
  2. What is the significance of narratives in video games for the development of moral constructs, learning, and social competences, among the young people who play them?


To analyze if video game experiences and post reflection meaning making discussions can activate the contact with the inner archetypical structures in a way that promotes the basic skills that are emotionally linked to social valuation.

To learn more about some structures, patterns and models that could underlie the learning process of social skills and moral development.


As we move into a new technological society and make contact with wide social and digital media resources, the scientific community is increasingly aware of the wide range of vectors that play a part in our individual development. Human and social development is a process that is not limited to a confined period or to the mere direct influence of educators and our most immediate environment. Learning and understanding reality and social models is not limited to being a linear, causal process but also due to an infinite number of different interactions as well as unified and complex personal evolutions that occur throughout a lifetime. The use of new forms of approaching reality such as new technologies appears to facilitate this process.

It can be assumed that it is not only real experiences that shape personalities. Books, movies and art in general are considered to be promoters of learning and builders of the self. Storytelling and narratives are linked to learning and identity building since we organize experiences in the form of narrative stories and because we also represent ourselves through different identities that are designed in cooperation with others in meaning-making practices (Bruner, 1991; Silseth & Erstad, 2012). In these modern times, a major focus has been placed on considering more than just traditional elements when it comes to structure narratives, and we cannot overlook the increasing interest of the youth in video games

The research has an explanatory nature, so its primary goal is to understand and explain influences using correlations to studying the relationship between the characteristics of individuals, situations and social models and analyze the process in between. In order to do that, it is the researcher’s intention to monitor groups while they are playing video games, and discussing social/moral conceptualization Research would focus on natural interaction and verbal production. Participants will also be interviewed to illuminate some additional aspects that relate to their perception of archetypes in folktales and video games in order to answer the first main question of the study. The second main question will be evaluated by pre and post testing in regard to social skills and moral development.

The present study is predicted to develop between August 2013 and August 2017 and it will lead to some scientific presentations.


University of Oslo

Research category

Basic research


Published Sep. 13, 2013 2:34 PM - Last modified Sep. 13, 2013 2:34 PM