Apperception: A Game of Ethics


An interactive ethics game for STEM students that blends face-to-face discussions with online interaction, and is easy to integrate into STEM classrooms.


Apperception is a game designed to get STEM students thinking about ethics. It was developed by researchers at the University of North Texas with the support of the National Science Foundation.

The game blends online scenarios with face-to-face discussion. It is played by groups of 4 or 5 students – larger classes can be broken into these smaller groups, which can each play the game simultaneously in the same room. Game players just need an internet-enabled device (phone, laptop, or tablet). Apperception is intended as a flexible supplement to be integrated into existing classroom and workshop curricula – teachers can use it once for a short time just to spark discussion, they can use it for longer games multiple times, or anything in-between.

Apperception poses students with challenging and ambiguous ethical scenarios related to research, teaching, mentorship, and professional life both within and beyond the university. It asks them to rank three possible responses to the scenario from most to least ethical. Then, players engage in a discussion where they need to both make the case for their rankings and listen to and assess the arguments made by other players.

The goals of apperception are to ignite thinking and dialogue, expose players to the viewpoints of others, and develop their ethical decision-making abilities. The hope is that this fun and engaging approach to STEM ethics education offers a valuable resource for students, teachers, researchers, and mentors.

The game includes a detailed guide about how to play the game and links to other ethics games.