Douglas College > Programs & Courses > Faculties > Humanities and Social Sciences > Psychology > Faculty > Joseph Thompson
Department: Psychology/Social Science
Faculty: Humanities and Social Sciences
Office: NW N3427
Office Phone: (604) 527-5865
Education and Credentials
Academic and Professional Profile
Joe’s graduate career began in analytic philosophy where he hoped to demonstrate the relevance of empirical research to philosophical problems. At some point, Joe’s growing interest in empirical research outpaced his interest in the philosophy of language, science, and mind. Joe subsequently began a PhD in psychology at Simon Fraser University, where he hoped to demonstrate the relevance of philosophy to empirical research. This project initially took the form of theoretical papers on research methods in developmental psychology. Reflections on research methods, and the fortune of living in an era with excellent video games, eventually lead Joe to conduct research on expert performance using large datasets of gamer behaviour.
At some point in his intellectual development, Joe attempted to apply his peculiar background to teaching, and this has since become Joe’s primary interest. His background in philosophy helps him teach scientific logic, his background in child developmental has shaped his larger teaching philosophy, and his research on skill learning affords him a unique vantage from which to advise students on how to become really really good at stuff.
Joe has pursued two independent but loosely related avenues of research. His primary area of research revolves around the use of Big Data methods to improve our understanding of skill learning. Joe helped to pioneer a research program involving the analysis of digital records from a highly competitive and internationally played video game, StarCraft 2. These records are left behind whenever someone plays a game of StarCraft 2, and contain a timestamped record of every action performed by players. These new data sources allow Joe to ask research questions such as the following:
Joe has also been known to pursue research in theoretical psychology, where has examined research methods. Joe’s theoretical papers tend to take on one of the following themes:
Open to Supervising Honours Students for 2020-21: YES
Hobbies and Interests
Sport fencing and video games that have virtually nothing to do with skill.
Selected Refereed Publications:
Thompson, J. J., McColeman, C. M., Blair, M. R., & Henrey, A. J. (2019). Classic motor chunking theory fails to account for behavioural diversity and speed in a complex naturalistic task. PLoS ONE, 14(6), e0218251. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0218251.
Thompson, J.J., Leung, B.H.M., Blair, M.R., Taboada, M (2017). Sentiment Analysis of player chat messaging in the video game StarCraft2: Extending a lexicon-based model. Knowledge Based Systems, 131, 149-162. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.knosys.2017.09.022.
Thompson, J. J., McColeman, C. M., Stepanova, E. R., & Blair, M. R. (2017). Using Video Game Telemetry Data to Research Motor Chunking, Action Latencies, and Complex Cognitive‐Motor Skill Learning. Topics in Cognitive Science, 9(2), 467-484. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/tops.2017.9.issue-2/issuetoc.
Thompson, J.J., Sameen, N., & Racine, T.P. (2016). Methodological Consequences of Weak Embodied Cognition and Shared Intentionality. New Ideas in Psychology, 43, 28-38. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.newideapsych.2016.03.002.
Thompson J. J., Blair MR, Henrey AJ (2014) Over the Hill at 24: Persistent Age-Related Cognitive-Motor Decline in Reaction Times in an Ecologically Valid Video Game Task Begins in Early Adulthood. PLoS ONE 9(4): e94215. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0094215
Tafreshi, D., Thompson, J. J., & Racine, T.P. (2014). An analysis of the conceptual foundations of the infant preferential looking paradigm. Human Development, 57. 222-240. 10.1159/000363487.
Thompson J.J., Blair M.R., Chen L, Henrey, A.J. (2013). Video Game Telemetry as a Critical Tool in the Study of Complex Skill Learning. PLoS ONE 8(9): e75129. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0075129
Thompson, J., Sameen, N., Bibok, M., & Racine, T.P. (2013). Agnosticism gone awry: Why developmental robotics must commit to an understanding of embodiment and shared intentionality. New Ideas In Psychology, 31(3). 184-193. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.newideapsych.2013.02.002