This is part of a series of blog posts showcasing the keynote speakers for this year’s International Gambling Conference, being co-hosted by PGF Group and AUT Gambling and Addictions Research Centre in Auckland from June 29 to July 1 2022.More details on the conference (including how you can register) are available by clicking here.
Dr Aaron Drummond is a cognitive cyberpsychologist with a keen interest in the psychological antecedents and consequences of digital media and technology use.
Dr Drummond believes people are amazing, having near boundless capacity for invention, innovation, creativity, compassion and thought.
“At the same time, we are all capable of making easily avoidable mistakes. We can land on the moon, yet we can lose our keys and lock ourselves out of our house.”
“That duality always fascinated me and so I chose to study human psychology to understand this apparent paradox,” he said.
Dr Drummond’s research is concerned with issues such as the psychological effects of digital media use on aggression, mental health, academic performance, and cognition.
“My career is connected together by an overarching goal to help people access and use the best available evidence to make the best possible decisions for themselves and their whānau,” he said.
Most recently, Aaron has published in the leading journals Nature Human Behaviour and Addiction on the issue of loot boxes and gambling related mechanisms in video games.
He has contributed oral and written testimony to governments on the subject of loot boxes in Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia, the UK and the USA.
“I am inspired by any scientist with the courage and conviction to speak truth to power – such as Open Science Leaders like Brian Nosek and Daniël Lakens,” he said.
“Any list of eminent psychology researchers would also have to include great minds like Daniel Kahneman, Elizabeth Loftus, Norbert Schwarz, and Elke Weber amongst many more. I’m also inspired by the energy and innovation of newly emerging thought leaders in the field – people like Amy Orben, David Zendle, Emily Lowe-Calverley and Hitaua Arahanga-Doyle.”
Dr Drummond is currently completing work on a Marsden Fast Start Grant investigating the consequences of engaging with loot box mechanisms in video games.
“The great thing about my career is that I get to be involved in lifelong learning. On the one hand I get to always be learning something new, whether from my own research, from my colleagues, or from my students. On the other hand, I get to communicate new and important information to people – at conferences, through lectures, and through papers.”
“Both of these things bring me profound joy,” he said.
Dr Drummond’s presentation relates to Gambling-related mechanisms in Video Games: Potential for harm, and mitigating strategies.
“The way that video games are monetised has fundamentally changed. It used to be a consumer would buy a game and that would be it – they would own the game in its entirety. Now games can include additional microtransactions after you’ve already bought the game.
Some of these microtransactions closely resemble gambling, so one has to be savvy to ensure that they are making well-informed decisions for themselves and their whānau,” he said.More information on Dr Drummond’s presentation can be found by clicking here.