Cultural Studies of Science Education

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 963–978 | Cite as

Science games and the development of scientific possible selves



Serious scientific games, especially those that include a virtual apprenticeship component, provide players with realistic experiences in science. This article discusses how science games can influence learning about science and the development of science-oriented possible selves through repeated practice in professional play and through social influences (e.g., peer groups). We first review the theory of possible selves (Markus and Nurius 1986) and discuss the potential of serious scientific games for influencing the development of scientific possible selves. As part of our review, we present a forensic game that inspired our work. Next we present a measure of scientific possible selves and assess its reliability and validity with a sample of middle-school students (N = 374). We conclude by discussing the promise of science games and the development of scientific possible selves on both the individual and group levels as a means of inspiring STEM careers among adolescents.


Scientific possible selves Self-concept Science games Career development Science identity Transformative identity 



The CSI series was supported in part by a grant issued to the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History under National Science Foundation Grant No. ESI-0540335 with a sub-agreement to Rice University and Award Number R25DA031110 from the National Institute On Drug Abuse. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Science Foundation, the National Institute On Drug Abuse or the National Institutes of Health.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margaret E. Beier
    • 1
  • Leslie M. Miller
    • 2
  • Shu Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyRice UniversityHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Center for Technology in Teaching and LearningRice UniversityHoustonUSA

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