Back in my childhood days, there was only one computer and my big brother played it the most and so me and my little brother silently watched him play Doom, Warcraft, Fallout (listening along with The Verve’s Bitter Symphony) among other early 1990′s games.
It turns out to enhance my brother’s gaming abilities according to research by Nicholas Bowman (West Virginia University), Rene Weber (University of California – Santa Barbara), Ron Tamborini & John Sherry (Michigan State University). This article published in Media Psychology conducted a study in the vein of an established social psychological phenomenon called social facilitation, proposed by Robert Zajonc in the 1960′s.
The current study implements the drive theory of social facilitation to explain the influence of audience presence in video game play. This integration is an important one for research aiming to understand the experience of video game play, as the social aspect of video game play is a relevant dimension of the technology often ignored in research on gaming experiences. The study finds a significant positive association between non-gaming cognitive abilities (such as hand?eye coordination and mental rotation ability) and performance at a first-person shooter. Data also support the social facilitation hypothesis: Game play in the presence of a physical audience significantly predicts increased game performance. Social facilitation effects are only found for low-challenge games where the drive-inducing capacity of task challenge is minimized. Resultant influences on game enjoyment are less clear.
The International Communication Association’s conference has started at London, but I was not invited. If I was, I would have been live blogging the events. Continue reading
Heart rate recordings by Ben Lewis-Evans (University of Groningen) who is not involved in this particular study
Annie Lang (Indiana University) is a name every grad student should know. In fact, one of her former graduate student is a faculty member at OSU (Zheng Joyce Wang). She is big because she developed the Limited Capacity Model of Motivated Mediate Message Processing (LC4MP) explaining how we pay attention to information, be it to a conversation, television or videogames. She is also one of the few who studied communication through psychophysiology.
So when her name came up and it involves videogames, then it must be important, although painful to read since I’m weak against psychophysiology research.
This paper reports a study designed to investigate whether playing violent video games elicits the psychological conditions theoretically required for media use to cause aggressive behavior. Specifically, the study was designed to examine whether these games elicit desensitization, facilitation, and disinhibition. Thus, does physiological arousal in response to violent activity decrease over time during game play, and is there a difference between novice and experienced game players (as would be expected if desensitization had occurred)? Do players experience positive emotional states when actively engaged in virtual violent behavior (fighting and killing opponents) – a necessary condition for disinhibition? Do game players frame their motivations in terms of self-defense and game success, as would be necessary for facilitation to occur? The results showed that playing first-person shooters did elicit these requisite patterns of cognitive, physiological, and emotional states. Violent game play is a positive, arousing, present, dominant experience, as required for disinhibition and facilitation. Experienced game players are less aroused than less experienced game players (as required for desensitization). Further, during a game-playing session, exploring and searching for enemies become less arousing, while fighting and killing become more arousing over time (as required by desensitization and facilitation).
Via Jamie Madigan, I learned that Michael Ambinder [see post, see article] whose mentor is Daniel Simons (University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana), another big name in psychology, used psychophysiology to help design videogames, such as Left 4 Dead. Continue reading
When I saw the title from the new academic journal, Psychology of Popular Media Culture, it sounded familiar that I googled and found out it was a probable reference to the Fox News’ face-palming reporting of Mass Effect’s erotic cutscene (“se”xbox). Steven Paul Stermer (Oklahoma State University) and Melissa Burkley has a line of studies examining sexual depictions in videogames. This study investigated the correlational link between sexist videogame content and benevolent sexism. This reminded me of a videogame commercial I saw a long time ago when television had a big place in my leisure time.
We examined the association between playing sexist video games and sexist attitudes. Undergraduate students (61 men and 114 women) indicated the level of perceived sexism present in their most frequently played video games. Students also completed the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory (Glick & Fiske, 1996), which measures both hostile and benevolent sexism. As predicted, men who played video games perceived to be high in sexism showed higher levels of benevolent sexism, compared with men who did not play such games. This relationship was not evident for women. Importantly, our study provides the first known evidence of a link between long-term exposure to sexist video games and sexist attitudes. Although correlational, these data are consistent with the notion that sexist video games encourage and reinforce sexist attitudes. Our findings have important real-world implications for video game researchers, parents, and game players themselves.
I started playing League of Legends after finishing a good portion of the Assassin’s Creed series. I can see why it’s popular, I am starting to think on my play style and which champions to aim for. Continue reading
I am still trying to return to my regular rhythm after the fallout with my laptop, but it is difficult when you are behind on nearly everything, except for coursework. But I do remember what study to review.
My advisor’s, Dr. Brad Bushman (OSU), French colleagues, Youssef Hasan (Qatar University) and Laurent Bègue (Université Mendès-France), have published an article on a three-day long experiment with violent videogames. I am wondering what kind of research French videogames scholars are doing…
It is well established that violent video games increase aggression. There is a stronger evidence of short-term violent video game effects than of long-term effects. The present experiment tests the cumulative long-term effects of violent video games on hostile expectations and aggressive behavior over three consecutive days. Participants (N = 70) played violent or nonviolent video games 20 min a day for three consecutive days. After gameplay, participants could blast a confederate with loud unpleasant noise through headphones (the aggression measure). As a potential causal mechanism, we measured hostile expectations. Participants read ambiguous story stems about potential interpersonal conflicts, and listed what they thought the main characters would do or say, think, and feel as the story continued. As expected, aggressive behavior and hostile expectations increased over days for violent game players, but not for nonviolent video game players, and the increase in aggressive behavior was partially due to hostile expectations.
I am trying all kinds of strategies of productivity, but nothing seems to stick as I lose motivation. Continue reading
Which one has the higher frame rate? (Answer is at the bottom of this post)
Due to my ineptitude at fixing computer problems, I have inadvertently formatted my laptop’s hard drive to oblivion. My digital life is now on hold until I have completed my graduate duties and when I rebuild my laptop. Four months’ worth of internet wisdom I picked up is lost, but my research data are safe. In any case, this event scarred my confidence with computers and this is post will be sadly a short one.
A few weeks ago, I saw a few reddit threads showing the difference of animation rendered at different frame rates. The first one showed a simple example, a second thread was made showing more examples, including the one in this post. Reddit user Regen89 made a valid point: “There is a HUGE difference between watching something at 30 vs 60 frames and playing something at 30 vs 60 fps”. I agree and I recalled a single paper that investigated frame rates and videogame play.
The rate at which frames are rendered in a computer game directly impacts player performance, influencing both the game playability and enjoyability. However, despite the importance of frame rate and the wide-spread popularity of computer games, to the best of our knowledge, there is little quantitative understanding of the effects of frame rate on player performance in computer games. This paper provides a unique classification of actions in First Person Shooter (FPS) games based on interaction requirements that allow qualitative assessment of the impact of frame rates on player performance. This qualitative assessment is supported by quantitative analysis from two large user studies that measure the effects of frame rate on the fundamental player actions in a FPS game. Nearly 100 users participated in the two user study experiments, providing performance and perception data over a range of frame rates commonly studied for video streaming and inclusive of frame rates found in many computer game platforms. In general, the analysis shows that actions that require precise, rapid response, such as shooting, are greatly impacted by degradations in frame rates, while actions with lower precision and response requirements, such as moving, are more tolerant of low frame rates. These insights into the effects of frame rates on player performance can guide players in their choice for game settings and new hardware purchases, and inform system designers in their development of new hardware.
The left one is the higher frame rate at 60 fps.
Claypool, K., & Claypool, M. (2007). On frame rate and player performance in first person shooter games. Multimedia Systems, 13 (1), 3-17. DOI: 10.1007/s00530-007-0081-1
Morality is a relatively new direction in videogames research, although the approach is different from older media in that negative aspects was given a lot of attention, such as comic books, which was attacked by Dr. Fredric Wertham who argued about its moral corruption. To my knowledge, current media effects researchers generally do not describe videogames as a moral corruption, but more of a public health concern. (Anderson & Bushman, 2001; Huesmann, 2010). On the other hand, videogames can be great teaching tools for moral reasoning.
Sven Joeckel (University of Erfurt), Nicholas Bowman (West Virginia University) and Leyla Dogruel (Free University of Berlin) published an article in Media Psychology regarding how people behaved morally in videogames.
Recent theorizing on the role of morality in media entertainment suggests morality serves as a guiding force in audience reactions to content. Using moral foundations theory as a base, research has found significant associations between moral salience and audience preferences for and responses to film and television varying in their presentations of morality. Our study extends this work by testing the same relationship in video games. Because a distinguishing factor between video games and traditional media is interactivity, our study focuses on how moral salience predicts decisions made in a video game. We find that increased moral salience led to a decreased probability of moral violations, while decreased moral salience led to an observed random (50%) distribution of violations. This finding was largely stable across different morality subcultures (German, United States) and age groups (adolescents and elderly), with deviations from this pattern explained by theory. We interpret this as evidence for a gut or game explanation of decision making in video games. When users encounter virtual scenarios that prime their moral sensitivities, they rely on their moral intuitions; otherwise, they make satisficing decisions not as an indication of moral corruption but merely as a continuation of the virtual experience.
I don’t have a set criteria for selecting articles, usually I print out a set of articles and go from there, but anyone who contacts me usually gets a post or two, eventually. Continue reading
Yukari Tanizaki (Azumanga Daioh!) at the driver’s seat
Research on racing videogames is relatively recent and received little attention, I hardly hear any press releases nor videogame news talking about it. The reason is that much of the research was conducted in continental Europe. Peter Fischer (University of Regensburg), Jan Van den Bulck (KU Leuven), and Kathleen Buellens (KU Leuven) published the majority of racing videogame-related articles and it is mostly about its effects on risky driving behaviours, attitudes and thoughts.
An article in Accident Analysis and Prevention was published by Evelyn Vingilis (University of Western Ontario), with Peter Fischer as fifth author, who examined the associations between playing racing games and risk taking driving behaviours among automobile enthusiasts in Ontario.
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships among risky driving attitudes, self-perceptions as a risky driver, playing of “drive’em up” (which rewarded players for frequent traffic and other violations) and “circuit” racing video games as well as self-reported risky driving through a web-based survey of car and racing club members in relation to a socio-cognitive model of the effects of racing video game playing.
An Internet questionnaire was developed and included: (1) self-perceptions as a risky driver scales (Driver Thrill Seeking and Competitive Attitude Toward Driving); (2) attitudes regarding street racing; (3) street racing video game playing, and (4) self-reported risky driving (Risk-Taking Driving Scale). A sequential logistic regression was performed entering age and driving exposure as control variables in the first block, self-perceptions as a risky driver in the second block, attitudes in the third block and playing “drive’em up” and “circuit” racing games in the last block to examine their effects on self-reported risk-taking driving.
A total of 503 survey respondents were included in the analyses and only 20% reported any risk-taking driving. Higher score on the Competitive Attitude Toward Driving Scale, more positive attitudes toward street racing, and more frequent reported playing of “drive’em up” video games were associated with higher odds on the self-reported Risk-Taking Driving Scale. However, the Driver Thrill Seeking Scale and “circuit” video game playing failed to predict self-reported risk-taking driving.
Self-perceptions as a risky driver, positive attitudes toward risky driving and “drive’em up” street-racing games, but not “circuit” racing games, are associated with increased risk-taking driving. These findings are congruent with experimental studies in which games that reward driving violations increased risk taking, suggesting that risk taking may be a function of type of street racing game played by affecting self-perceptions as a risky driver.
Five days until the deadline for NCA… Continue reading