Celia Hodent, PhD is an expert in game UX (user experience) and cognitive psychology. She is a consultant, speaker, and acclaimed author of The Gamer’s Brain: How Neuroscience and UX can Impact Video Game Design & The Psychology of Video Games.

Dr. Celia Hodent, PhD - expert on video games UX

I have a PhD in Psychology from the University of Paris 5 Sorbonne (France). I’m specialized in cognitive development (my thesis was about language-specific effects on number computation in toddlers). The performance, limitations, and biases of the human brain will never cease to fascinate me.

I’m the GDC UX Summit Chair and an adviser for the GDC UX Summit, so I’m always looking for interesting speakers to talk about Game UX for the conferences I help curate.

Having a UX mindset means putting humans first; putting users’ (players’) interests above business goals. Which is why I care about ethics and kicked off the Ethical Games initiative with academics and game developers.

2005 – 2009

I grew up playing a lot of games, including video games; because of this I felt compelled to walk away from academic research and enter the gaming industry. I first joined Vtech, a toy and educational game manufacturer, in 2005.

In 2008, I started an exciting quest about how cognitive science can help improve the player experience at Ubisoft’s Strategic Innovation Lab think tank (Ubisoft HQ, France). I worked more specifically with the ‘Games for Everyone’ department, on the My Coach series for Nintendo DS. I also developed a training session exploring how the brain learns for Ubisoft’s Design Academy.

2009 – 2013

I joined Ubisoft Montreal and worked in the esteemed Playtest Lab department to focus on user research and user experience. I conducted research and participated in design discussions for many cool Ubisoft franchises, such as Rainbow 6, Driver, Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, and Watch Dogs. Later, I worked at LucasArts on Star Wars: 1313 and Star Wars: First Assault (and some iOS games) only to see them cancelled. Sadly, the LucasArts studio closed shortly thereafter.

2013 – 2017

I joined Epic Games as Director of User Experience to develop UX practices and strategy for the studio. I mostly worked on Fortnite, but also on Unreal Engine 4, Paragon, Battle Breakers, SpyjinxRobo Recall (VR) and other projects.

2017 – Present
I left Epic Games on October 2017 to become an independent consultant, working with companies from all over the world on video games UX and other projects. I’m also a member of the Comité de la prospective(CNIL, whose mission is to protect personal data, support innovation, and preserve individual liberties) since May 2018.

About This Website

My main goal with this site is to share my knowledge and experience about how psychology can help offer a better experience for players, in the most concrete and applicable way possible. Offering a better UX also means making a video game (or other products or services) more likely to be successful and reach business goals, while respecting the users. Thus, ethical considerations are equally critical when adopting a UX mindset.

I’m currently doing freelance consulting work. If you’re interested, you can visit this page. I’m also happy to exchange ideas around game UX, cognitive psychology, video games, inclusion, or ethics.

Recent Talks

Visit my YouTube channel for even more videos of my talks about video games UX, education, cognitive psychology, game design, and games in general. You will also find videos from the Game UX Summit.

Of Brains & Interfaces – UNESCO Netexplo
The Success of Fortnite: A Psychology & UX Perspective

Talking about “The Gamer’s Brain” book and video games UX for The Triangulation podcast.

Book, Articles, Talks, & More

The Gamer's Brain book by Celia Hodent -- all about the UX of video games and the psychology behind it.

My Best-Selling Book:

Hodent, C. (2017). The Gamer’s Brain: How Neuroscience and UX can Impact Video Game Design. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. Available on Amazon, Kindle, and CRC Press

Now available in French, Japanese, and Korean.








2010 – 2013

2007 – 2009

  • Speaker at Musée Suisse du Jeu (2009, La-Tour-de-Peilz, Switzerland). The positive impacts of video games.
  • Speaker at Game+Learning+Society Conference (2008, Madison, WI). From pure entertainment to playful learning.
  • Speaker at Festival du Jeu Video (2008, Paris, France). The benefits of playing video games.
  • Speaker at Festival du Jeu Video (2007, Paris, France). Video games and the child development.
  • Speaker at Institute of Psychology (2007, Fribourg University, Switzerland). Benefits and limitations of the use of digital educational toys and games by young children.
  • Interview Marchand, G. (2009). Neuropédagogie: Les jeux forment la jeunesseLe Monde de l’Enfance, 5.
  • Interview de Mallevoüe, D. (2008). Le troisième âge devient accro aux jeux vidéo. Le Figaro.
  • AuditionCan Video Games Promote Intergenerational Play & Literacy Learning? Research & Design Workshop conducted by the Game Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California, the University of Michigan School of Education and Learning Sciences, and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop (2009).
  • AuditionL’Enfant et les écrans. Academy of Sciences, France (2006).
  • Article: Hodent-Villaman, C. (2007). Les jeux vidéo sont-ils bons pour le cerveau? (Are video games good for the brain?). Sciences Humaines, 178.
  • Article: Hodent-Villaman, C. (2007). Les jeux éducatifs (educational games). Cerveau & Psycho, 24.
  • Book chapter: Hodent-Villaman, C. (2007). Psychanalyse et neuroscience: Conflit ou réconciliation? In Molinié, M. (Ed.) La Psychanalyse: Points de vue pluriels. Editions Sciences Humaines.

2002 – 2006

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