Document Type


Publication Date



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Communication Studies


The primary aim of this article is to provide a comprehensive review and elaboration of model matching and its theo- retical propositions. Model matching explains and predicts individuals’ outcomes related to gameplay by focusing on the interrelationships among games’ systems of mechanics, relevant situations external to the game, and players’ mental mod- els. Formalizing model matching theory in this way provides researchers a unified explanation for game-based learning, game performance, and related gameplay outcomes while also providing a theory-based direction for advancing the study of games more broadly. The propositions explicated in this article are intended to serve as the primary tenets of model matching theory. Considerations for how these propositions may be tested in future games studies research are discussed.

Source Citation

McGloin, R., Wasserman, J. A., & Boyan, A. (2018). Model Matching Theory: A Framework for Examining the Alignment between Game Mechanics and Mental Models. Media and Communication, 6(2), 126.


© 2018 by the authors; licensee Cogitatio (Lisbon, Portugal). This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribu- tion 4.0 International License (CC BY).

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Communication Commons



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