Among Us & The Psychology of Social Deduction

Successes in Deductive Reasoning

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Poster of the game Among Us by the studio creators Innersloth

Social deduction games are highly immersive and intellectually stimulating experiences where players attempt to resolve and uncover the hidden roles, motives, and allegiances of the other members.

Usually, such games are played within teams, where the main members are primarily the “good” ones and the impostors are the “bad” ones.

During such games, players may have to use their superb skills of deduction and logic to make sense of the roles of others, even when those other players are unreliable. The impostors may utilize elaborate and well-padded bluffs to keep the suspicion away from themselves.

The impostors may even go as far as gaslighting others to absolve themselves of their so-called misdeeds. Others may capitalize on the drama between two innocents to detract away from their own conniving schemes.

When you’re the impostor, there are many strategies to keep yourself from getting caught. These may include:

  • Sticking to a specific story consistently with conviction
  • Producing a fake alibi with actual innocents or a fellow impostor
  • Pretending to be too new to understand the complexities of the game
  • Obtaining critical information at the right time and the right place
  • Running away from the scene of the crime
  • Additional research on the various strategies of the game

What is Among Us?

Among Us is a desktop and mobile game that has surged in popularity, becoming a hit sensation in 2020. Despite being released in 2018, it became a huge hit when streamers on Twitch wanted something immersive and fun.

Developed by InnerSloth, a studio in Redmond, Washington, Among Us has had over 158 million installs internationally across the App Store and Google Play to date.

In September alone, it had 84 million downloads on iOS and Android and over 42 million downloads on Steam. Since September 1st, Among Us has remained on the Top Five charts for Apple’s US App Store.

Even US politician Alexandria Ocasio Cortez will set up a streaming channel on Twitch to play Among Us, just to encourage people to vote for the upcoming presidential election.

Since the game is fun, easy, and relatively inexpensive, it has blossomed into a grand pastime for those looking for something intellectually stimulating.

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Photo by Tarun Savvy on Unsplash

Among Us is the ultra-modern take on the classic social deduction games like Secret Hitler, Mafia, Werewolf, and Town of Salem.

On your mobile device or desktop, users play as crewmates on a vessel designated to do tasks. Along the way, you must accurately identify the impostors residing among the crew.

If you and your team can get your respective tasks completed and agree upon who the imposter is, the team wins. Meanwhile, the impostors will achieve victory by sabotaging the area and killing off their crewmates, one by one.

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Photo by Mark Decile on Unsplash

The platform espouses a 2-dimensional cartoon style, where you can play across three maps, a planet base, a space station, or a spaceship. As a cute two-legged critter, you get to explore the ship and work on various tasks like puzzles, shooting asteroids, and swiping ID cards.

While you’re doing these tasks, you have to be on the lookout for peers who seem allegedly suspicious, such as those who are standing in one place for too long or those who are seemingly following you everywhere.

You also have to make sure that your ship is safe as well, fixing lights and switches to prevent potential explosions, too. While you’re doing these, you might be fearful of getting murdered.

In any case, you have to evade the murderers while looking for potential dead bodies, ensuring that you alert your teammates by reporting the body as soon as you see it.

You will be seen as suspicious if you’re found near the body, but you’ll also be seen as equally suspicious if you walk past it and don’t report it.

Once a body is reported or when an emergency meeting is called, players can verbally chat about the events that just occurred, including the tasks they supposedly did, the players who can vouch for their alibi, and the other details as needed.

After voting amongst one another, either no one or a so-called impostor will be ejected from the platform, either narrowing or widening the window for the heroes or the impostors.

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Screenshot of a victory in Among Us by ShackNews

Though this game involves deception and the idea of murder, it is surprisingly family-friendly due to its cute and simple cartoonish layout. It also has the official rating of E, making it suitable for gamers aged 10 or up.

Players can choose to join private games or even join public games, ranging from 4 players all the way to 10. With a unique code, players can make it so that only their friends or family join, especially given the game’s accessibility for all ages and devices.

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Synthia Satkuna, MA Candidate

Written by

Canadian Writer & Researcher | Aspiring Therapist | Crisis Responder | Writing about mental health, psychology, technology, etc.

Digital Diplomacy

Technology, digital, and innovation, at the intersection with government and foreign policy

Synthia Satkuna, MA Candidate

Written by

Canadian Writer & Researcher | Aspiring Therapist | Crisis Responder | Writing about mental health, psychology, technology, etc.

Digital Diplomacy

Technology, digital, and innovation, at the intersection with government and foreign policy

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