Positive Play Lab

Current Projects

  • My research team and I are currently developing a research study exploring the impact of play and playfulness upon well-being, along with several possible moderators.
  • Other, more long-range goals are to examine player dynamics within the context of cooperative board game play, including learning over time and the formation of norms within the game group.

Recent Projects

  • Last semester (Spring 2015), we used an experimental design to explore the experience of playing an unfamiliar board game. This study was conceived and designed in the Fall 2014 semester.
  • During the Spring 2014 semester, we began designing two tabletop games – a competitive snowball fight game called Snow Mercy! and an abstract cooperative game (the latter designed in collaboration with several Marist game design students) – which are both in the playtesting and development game.

Our Current Research Team

Doug Maynard

DCM small

See About Me to learn about my scholarship and teaching interests. I am interested in exploring how games – especially analog games such as board games and tabletop role-playing games – can foster learning, social interaction, and well-being. I am particularly interested in the psychology of strategic and cooperative board game play. I enjoy a variety of tabletop games, especially European-style strategy games such as Agricola and cooperative games such as Pandemic. On the digital side, I appreciate point-and-click adventure games with an engaging narrative (e.g., Grim Fandango, Dreamfall), the location-based ARG Ingress, and anything good on the Wii that I can enjoy with my family (I particularly enjoy Sports Resort).

I am excited to be working with the following students this year:

Leah Mancini

Usman Shakil

Allison Vaughn


Allison is a senior at SUNY New Paltz majoring in psychology with a concentration in industrial-organizational psychology. She is President of the Henna Club, a member of Psi Chi and enjoys creating handmade jewelry and clothing. 

Past Research Team Members

  • Jesse Chakan (Fall 2014)
  • David Gueli (Fall 2014)
  • Lauren Handy (Spring 2014) is a Master’s student in the Psychology program. Her thesis is an examination of frustration as a moderator between violent video game play and aggression.
  • Caitlin Hoben (Spring 2014) graduated from SUNY New Paltz in May 2014 with a BA in industrial and organizational psychology. She is currently working in human resources for Target.
  • Laura Kopczynski (Fall 2014 – Spring 2015) graduated in Spring 2015 and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in I-O psychology at Baruch College (CUNY).
  • Hannah Lake (Fall 2014) graduated in Fall 2014 and began her graduate studies in forensic psychology at John Jay college in Fall 2015.
  • Connor Pierce (Fall 2014) graduated SUNY New Paltz in December 2014 with a BA in psychology. He has been accepted into the Games For Learning master’s program at New York University, where he began study in Fall 2015.
  • Emily Smith (Fall 2014 – Spring 2015) graduated in Spring 2015 and began her graduate studies in psychology and counseling at Lesley University in Fall 2015.

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