Carnegie Mellon University

Ask For What You Want

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Web Game to Teach Girls Negotiation

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Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) is developing an online game that teaches negotiation skills to girls between the ages of 7 and 12.

"Reign of Aquaria: Negotiation Game" is the result of a collaboration between the ETC and Linda Babcock, professor of economics at Carnegie Mellon's Heinz School and author of "Women Don't Ask."

"Our society teaches young girls to wait for things to be offered to them rather than ask for what they want," said Babcock. "This has serious financial implications for these girls as they get older and enter the workforce, so we are trying to combat that socialization by getting to girls early to teach them how to negotiate."

The focus of the game is three-fold: to turn negotiations into a collaborative problem-solving exercise; realize the best alternatives; and recognize opportunities. A metrics reporting system tracks each player's progress.

ETC student Michell Pun, a member of the team who created the flash-based game, has had a love for video games since childhood.

"The goal of our project is to create an online environment where girls have the freedom to role play and learn new negotiation techniques," said Pun. "For example, instead of viewing negotiations as competitive and confrontational, we believe that negotiations can be a collaborative problem-solving exercise. By promoting a 'let's work this out together' attitude, we hope girls can overcome many of the common fears they have toward negotiations."

Carnegie Mellon is a world leader in technology and the arts, recognized for its unique, interdisciplinary approach to solving real-world problems.    

Related Links: About the Project  |  Heinz School  |  Entertainment Technology Center  |  Carnegie Mellon Today Article