Heuristica Serious Games

Heuristica, a serious game


Do serious games provide an effective mechanism for exposing and mitigating cognitive bias? ARA used an evidence-based approach to answer this question, leveraging our sense-making research, and contended that mitigating biases requires deliberate practice, opportunities to make/correct errors, and getting people to change their frame of reference. Virtual learning environments can provide practice opportunities in an engaging format and potentially improve transfer of learning.


ARA led a team of five universities and organizations to design and develop a serious game—Heuristica—to train participants to improve their critical thinking and decision making. Through the game players are taught to recognize and mitigate six cognitive biases that are common in all types of decision-making. ARA instrumented Heuristica as an experimental platform, and conducted six cycles of experimentation to quantitatively evaluate the effect of 14 different game variables (e.g., visual fidelity, intelligent tutoring/Student Model) on in-game and post-game learning with more than 2000 participants.


Through serious game training with Heuristica, participant knowledge of six cognitive biases improved by 30-50%, and their ability to mitigate these biases improved by up to 40%. More importantly, participants retained the learning effects from a single 75-minute game session after 8 to 12 weeks. Freedom from bias enables analysts to better detect meaningful patterns in intelligence data.

Applied Cognition

Cognitive Solutions

Our cognitive capabilities combined with our expertise in the physical sciences allow us to develop solutions that enhance the performance of... more


Innovative Training Solutions

Instructional design, interactive training programs, immersive learning simulations, serious games, and virtual worlds. more