"Having been inspired by some of my favourite video games, I set out to learn just what makes a fun experience 'fun'."

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Student Profile: Robin C. A. Barrett

Psychology master's student in the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences

December 18, 2020
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From high school onward, I have been fascinated with the science of positive experiences. Having been inspired by some of my favourite video games, I set out to learn just what makes a fun experience "fun". While my goals have moved to encompass more than just games, my passion for understanding fun has persisted as I believe that by implementing more enjoyable experiences in the technology around us, we can create a less stressful world overall. Outside of school, I am an avid gamer still, and love playing guitar, whether it be electric, classical/folk, or even bass. My partner has been a huge support to me, and I could not imagine being as far as I am in my career without their perseverance and support as we work to create an environment where the both of us can thrive in our respective aspirations.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?

I chose to come to SFU for so many reasons! For starters, in addition to being where my mom got her degree from, I also spent a great number of summer's on campus attending various summer programs. In many ways, SFU has just always felt like home to me for that reason. More specifically, when I finished my diploma at Langara College, I was drawn to the Cognitive Science Lab under Dr. Mark Blair at SFU for their research into how eSports data could be used to study human learning. After a brief interview, I was invited to join the lab, and my trajectory to SFU was set.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR RESEARCH AND/OR PROGRAM.

I study how people learn and acquire skills over time, using a variety of different data sources. These data sources include eye-tracking data, eSports replay files, and more recently, Virtual Reality. Specifically, I'm super interested in the science of positive experiences, and am currently looking into testing out a new way of measuring learning that using the rhythmicity of a person's actions to measure to degree to which that person is in "the zone" or, as it is called in the literature, in a Flow state.

WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?

The Historical, Quantitative, and Theoretical track of Psychology is such a diverse field, with people from all different strands of psychology intermingling to develop new tools and theoretical frameworks for research. In addition to meeting so many diverse new researchers, the nature of the program means that I have a lot of freedom to explore my own ideas and craft most of my graduate courses to match the needs of my project as I go, rather than having a set list of courses that may or may not be relevant to my research.

HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR FUNDED AWARDS?

Special Graduate Entrance Scholarship

Contact Robin: rcbarret@sfu.ca
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/robincabarrett/