Several months ago, Jamie Madigan (Psychology of Video Games) blogged about inattention blindness in video games, his explanation of the phenomenon is spot on and so I suggest you read his blog before continuing. A few earlier months, I picked up an article by David Vallett (University of Nevada Las Vegas) and his colleagues on this very topic. I forgot about it until it showed up again in the newest issue of Computers in Human Behavior.
Early studies of visual attention noted a phenomenon termed ‘inattention blindness’ – the inability of participants to see clear stimuli enter the visual field when attending to something else in that field – and sought to expand the understanding of the phenomenon (Neisser & Becklen, 1975; Simons & Chabris, 1999; Stoffregen, Baldwin, & Flynn, 1993). Other research has focused on the changes to the human brain and cognitive functions as a result of video game play, both in positive and negative contexts (Howard- Jones, Ott, van Leeuwen, and De Smedt (2010)). This quasi-experimental study sought to corroborate some of the findings that tie together these seemingly disparate lines of research, adapting the methodology of the most cited inattention blindness experiment (Simons & Chabris, 1999).
It’s Black Friday and if you want to experience inattention blindness in a videogame, I suggest Papers, Please. Continue reading
When I saw that article popped up back in May 2013, I had the feeling readers were anticipating my review of this study. Was I right?
Seth Gitter (Auburn University), Patrick Ewell (University of Alabama), Rosanna Guadagno (NSF), Tyler Stillman (Southern Utah University) and Roy F. Baumeister (Florida State University) have published an interesting study in Aggressive Behavior, examining context of violent behaviours and its effects on aggressive behaviours and cognition.
Previous work has shown that playing violent video games can stimulate aggression toward others. The current research has identified a potential exception. Participants who played a violent game in which the violence had an explicitly prosocial motive (i.e., protecting a friend and furthering his nonviolent goals) were found to show lower short-term aggression (Study 1) and show higher levels of prosocial cognition (Study 2) than individuals who played a violent game in which the violence was motivated by more morally ambiguous motives. Thus, violent video games that are framed in an explicitly prosocial context may evoke more prosocial sentiments and thereby mitigate some of the short-term effects on aggression observed in previous research. While these findings are promising regarding the potential aggression-reducing effects of prosocial context, caution is still warranted as a small effect size difference (d = .2–.3), although nonsignificant, was still observed between those who played the explicitly prosocial violent game and those who played a nonviolent game; indicating that aggressive behavior was not completely eliminated by the inclusion of a prosocial context for the violence.
I’m heading out for NCA at Washington D.C., I will appear when I am supposed to. Continue reading
Paul Adachi and his graduate advisor Teena Willoughby (Brock University) have published another article in the same issue of Journal of Youth and Adolescence from the one I have blogged earlier. I did not want to omit this work in favour of the other that focused on violent videogame, competitive videogames and aggression. This article focused on self-reported problem solving skills and strategy gaming (e.g., Starcraft) across four years.
Some researchers have proposed that video games possess good learning principles and may promote problem solving skills. Empirical research regarding this relationship, however, is limited. The goal of the presented study was to examine whether strategic video game play (i.e., role playing and strategy games) predicted self-reported problem solving skills among a sample of 1,492 adolescents (50.8 % female), over the four high school years. The results showed that more strategic video game play predicted higher self-reported problem solving skills over time than less strategic video game play. In addition, the results showed support for an indirect association between strategic video game play and academic grades, in that strategic video game play predicted higher self-reported problem solving skills, and, in turn, higher self-reported problem solving skills predicted higher academic grades. The novel findings that strategic video games promote self-reported problem solving skills and indirectly predict academic grades are important considering that millions of adolescents play video games every day.
A second reason is that I can simply omit much of the method section and direct you to read the previous post. Continue reading
Online videogames these days have integrated many competitive elements: scoreboards, leaderboards, achievements, perks and of course the fundamental play of outscoring your opponents. But it is a question for game scholars whether videogames are fundamentally competitions of skills, abilities or knowledge. Aside from that, the question about the effects of competition is examined by Canadian psychologist grad student Paul Adachi and his advisor Teena Willoughby (Brock University).
The majority of research on the link between video games and aggression has focused on the violent content in games. In contrast, recent experimental research suggests that it is video game competition, not violence, that has the greatest effect on aggression in the short-term. However, no researchers have examined the long-term relationship between video game competition and aggression. In addition, if competition in video games is a significant reason for the link between video game play and aggression, then other competitive activities, such as competitive gambling, also may predict aggression over time. In the current study, we directly assessed the socialization (competitive video game play and competitive gambling predicts aggression over time) versus selection hypotheses (aggression predicts competitive video game play and competitive gambling over time). Adolescents (N = 1,492, 50.8 % female) were surveyed annually from Grade 9 to Grade 12 about their video game play, gambling, and aggressive behaviors. Greater competitive video game play and competitive gambling predicted higher levels of aggression over time, after controlling for previous levels of aggression, supporting the socialization hypothesis. The selection hypothesis also was supported, as aggression predicted greater competitive video game play and competitive gambling over time, after controlling for previous competitive video game play and competitive gambling. Our findings, taken together with the fact that millions of adolescents play competitive video games every day and that competitive gambling may increase as adolescents transition into adulthood, highlight the need for a greater understanding of the relationship between competition and aggression.
I wish I could exert more cognitive effort into reviewing this paper, but I have some compelling matters at hand, so I apologize to readers and the researchers for the quality of this post. Continue reading
I should really learn how to do a longitudinal study. A longitudinal study is a long-term project where data points are gathered at more than two time points, spanning from months or even years. The difficulty of such study is cost in general, participants, money, manpower, etc. The benefit is we can see changes of one variable over a period of time and make good inferences about causal relations.
Daniel L. King (University of Adelaide), Paul H. Delfabbro and the videogame addiction expert Mark D. Griffiths (Nottingham Trent University) published a longitudinal study in Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking.
A three-wave, longitudinal study examined the long-term trajectory of problem gaming symptoms among adult regular video gamers. Potential changes in problem gaming status were assessed at two intervals using an online survey over an 18-month period. Participants (N=117) were recruited by an advertisement posted on the public forums of multiple Australian video game-related websites. Inclusion criteria were being of adult age and having a video gaming history of at least 1 hour of gaming every week over the past 3 months. Two groups of adult video gamers were identified: those players who did (N=37) and those who did not (N=80) identify as having a serious gaming problem at the initial survey intake. The results showed that regular gamers who self-identified as having a video gaming problem at baseline reported more severe problem gaming symptoms than normal gamers, at all time points. However, both groups experienced a significant decline in problem gaming symptoms over an 18-month period, controlling for age, video gaming activity, and psychopathological symptoms.
I am running an online survey on gamers’ online experiences, if you happen to have some time go ahead and fill it out, it takes 15 minutes. Continue reading
I don’t know if my interests with videogames will continue until old age, but if I will be a fan of videogames, the first game I will play when I retire is the latest iteration of the X game series, building my mercantile space empire, one station at a time.
Until that happens, what are the benefits of gaming to today’s elderly? This is a question posed by Jason C. Allaire (North Carolina State University) and 6 other colleagues in this paper published in Computers in Human Behavior.
The purpose of this investigation was to examine differences in psychological functioning (e.g., well-being, affect, depression, and social functioning) between older adults who play digital games compared to those older adults that do not play digital games. Analysis was conducted on a sample of 140 independently living older adults with an average age of 77.47 years (SD = 7.31). Participants were divided into three groups (Regular, Occasional Gamers, and Non-gamers) – 60% of the sample was either a Regular or Occasional Gamer. Differences among the groups were found for well-being, negative affect, social functioning, and depression with Regular and Occasional Gamers performing better, on average, than Non-gaming older adults. Findings suggest that playing may serve as a positive activity associated with successful aging.
So I will be going to the National Communication Association 2013 Conference. I will be showing my face on Saturday, but if there is anything going besides Saturday, do tell me.
When I saw this article, I remembered one dear old videogame called Hostile Waters: Antaeus Rising. It was a carrier command game, a mixture of real-time strategy with third-person vehicle combat. You can pilot your own vehicle and command AIs of once-living and colourful pilots. Why this game is so dear to me is the pilots’ personalities and interactions between the pilots, they compliment each other, insult each other and they especially swear.
Adrienne Holz Ivory (Virginia Tech University) and Christine Kaestle (University of North Caroline at Chapel Hill) conducted an experiment to see how swearing obscenities from videogame characters could affect players’ hostility and aggression.
Although effects of violence in video games have been researched extensively, no empirical studies have examined effects of profanity, a form of verbal aggression, in video games. An experiment (N = 321) investigated effects of profanity used by protagonist and antagonist characters in a “first-person shooter” game on players’ hostile expectations, accessibility of aggressive thoughts, aggressive feelings, and other responses. Profanity used by both protagonist and antagonist characters increased hostile expectations, a direct precursor to aggressive behaviors. Findings suggest that profanity in video games may affect aggressive outcomes, emphasizing the need for more research investigating effects of profanity in media.
A game called Rogue Legacy has a trait for heroes who suffer from involuntary swearing… Continue reading