Sibling Interactions and Performance During Co-Play of a Puzzle Video Game

Kristen Elizabeth Kohm, Fordham University


Sibling relationships have long-term effects on children’s socioemotional and cognitive development (McHale, Updegraff, & Whiteman, 2012). Few studies have examined how siblings interact during video game co-play. This study addressed this gap by examining siblings’ comments during co-play of a puzzle video game called Snipperclips. Ten sibling dyads participated, including children aged eight to 18 who were four years apart or less. Dyads played three puzzles, during which the researcher videotaped the children’s on-screen gameplay and recorded their comments. Dyads’ game performance, measured through time to complete the puzzles, was examined in relation to children’s comments. It was expected that greater communication among siblings regarding gameplay would relate to better game performance. However, the results indicated that greater use of comments was related to poor game performance (or taking more time to complete the puzzles). Further examination of dyads’ last trials to complete the puzzles (the trials which ended in successfully finishing a level) demonstrated a lack of pronounced birth order hierarchies among the dyads. Specifically, older and younger siblings often rotated between directing the gameplay or giving the other one instructions. This finding is consistent with literature indicating that birth order hierarchies tend to be more fluid among siblings during everyday interactions (Edwards, Hadfield, & Mauthner, 2005; McIntosh & Punch, 2009). Game strategy comments and expressions of affect comprised the overwhelming majority of comments across puzzles. Thus, siblings may practice problem-solving with siblings through discussion of game strategies, and practice conveying thoughts and feelings through expressions of affect.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology|Cognitive psychology|Social psychology

Recommended Citation

Kohm, Kristen Elizabeth, "Sibling Interactions and Performance During Co-Play of a Puzzle Video Game" (2020). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI27962363.