I'm really feeling it!

The Overwatch Experiment

So, I can be a bit of a science nerd. I suppose it’s fitting, then, that my day job is as a psychologist, but those hours are mostly spent providing therapy and assessment services. I haven’t done original research since my dissertation. It’s time I returned to my roots of data collection!

Ok, so let’s get this disclaimer out of the way right off the bat: this experiment will be a sham. It will not come close to meeting scientific standards. The n=1 (me), which is already a big no-no, considering I’m no Ebbinghaus. The experimental conditions will not be consistent. There will likely be too many variables to draw meaningful conclusions. The results will not be generalizable. I did not consult previous research in preparation. In short, this isn’t really... real. It’s for fun, because real science is hard work.

Don’t let my degree fool you.

So what is this sham experiment, and why am I writing about it? Essentially, I’m pledging to play at least an hour (hopefully more) of Overwatch every day for at least a month (maybe longer). As I play, I’ll be tracking a variety of variables: play time, win/loss ratio, competitive ranking changes, my frustration levels/management (the “tilt” meter, if you will), whether I listen to music or not, etc. I’m curious to see if I can track real improvement in my skill, as well as possible variables that contribute or detract from that. I’ll be tracking all that info here, for anyone that’s interested in following along (and maining Zenyatta, for you support fans). My current hypotheses? That consistent play will correlate with improved competitive rank (duh, I know, but still), and that frustration levels/management will be an influencing factor. I also am curious to see if frustration levels and background music interact.

So why tell you all this? Because I like community. Because I’d love feedback about ways to tweak and/or add to my little personal experiment. Because I think experiments are cool, and it’d be awesome if this inspired anyone else to conduct their own personal experiments. Because, why not?

If you’ve got ideas/comments/suggestions, comment below or @ me on twitter! Thought of more variables I should track? Tell me about them! If you want to see this potential trainwreck in action, I’ll be trying to stream a decent amount of it on that twitch website that seems to be all the rage. And, of course, I’ll do my best to provide updates on the data once I actually get a decent amount!


Freud is a psychologist and life-long gamer. And a dirty, shameful millennial. SHUN


You can follow him at @aFreudianTrip. You can watch him at twitch.tv/afreudiantrip.

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