A systematic literature review of ‘empathy’ and ‘games’

By Karen "Kat" Schrier and Matthew Farber

Journal of Gaming & Virtual Worlds
Volume 13 Number 2

Scholarship on the intersection of games and empathy is limited. However, over the past decade peer-reviewed articles have started to be published in this area. This study investigates this emerging scholarship on empathy and games to understand how researchers are describing, defining and communicating their work. For example, how are research articles about games defining empathy? From which disciplines are the researchers framing their studies? Which types of games are being used in the investigations? Forty-nine articles were found, coded and analysed by searching six different databases. For this investigation, each article was analysed based on the discipline, keyword(s) used to find the article, definition(s) of empathy used, types of games used in the article and the themes used in the article. Articles emerged from twelve different disciplines and described over thirteen different types of empathy. Findings were shared, as well as recommendations for researchers studying this area.