Status and directions of psychological research on video games in 2009 (Tang, 2009)

Since the National Institute of Media and Family is closing its doors this year and with no indications that they are publishing their video game report card (and their overview of the research), I decided to take the (lazy, but I’m still busy) task of giving this year’s overview of the research.

This year, I got about 100 academic articles related to psychological video game research (including studies in communication studies).

Aggression: Research continued to demonstrate the correlational and experimental link between video game violence and aggression. However, the research is still criticized by its methodological flaws (e.g. by Christopher Ferguson and the Olson-Kutner duo). Some future directions might include looking media violence in its context, realism violence, personality, etc.

On the other hand, this year presented a new trend in research investigating the prosocial aspects and effects of video games. Quite notably is Douglas Gentile’s Prosocial study. Another study was also published in the same year without much press (and I promised to write about it).

Sex: I foresee in the near future increasing research on sex in video games. There are multiple topics related to sex: masculinity and femininity among video game players, sexual depictions in video games, attitudes towards sexual orientations in online gaming environment, effects of hyper-sexualized female and male characters, differential attitudes of sexual depictions between various medium (tv, advertisement, video game, films, etc.), cultural differences attitudes towards sexual depiction or sexual behaviours in media and video games, dealing with mature themes in video games, to list a few at the top of my head.

Addiction: Video game addiction research is a pressing issue among mental health professionals and gamers alike and we will likely to see more for at least several years to come. I’d like to give a general overview of the research, but I’m not up-to-date.

Ethnicity:  Ethnic representations among video game characters, effects on players and audience by video game characters of ethnic minority, attitudes towards minorities in online video gaming…

Motivation: I get to know about obssessive versus harmonious passion…

Health: Wii sports is better than Wii fit.

That is all.

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3 thoughts on “Status and directions of psychological research on video games in 2009 (Tang, 2009)

  1. I think video game addiction is going to be a hot topic in the near future. I’d like to read more research on the topic.

    It was a pretty good year for research on the link between aggression and video games. I used and linked to all of those studies you mentioned when writing videogames.procon.org where we discuss the debate about whether video games contribute to youth violence.

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