The vast majority of research into videogames has concentrated on the possible harmful effects of playing videogames, ignoring the simple question of why people actually want to play them.
But new research led by scientists at the University of Essex sheds some light on the appeal of videogames and why millions of people around the world find playing them so much fun.
The study investigated the idea that many people enjoy playing videogames because it gives them the chance to “try on” characteristics which they would like to have as their ideal self.
The research is part of ongoing work by Dr Andy Przybylski, a visiting research fellow at Essex, into how videogames affect people by trying to understand what draws so many people to such a wide variety of games.
Due to be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, the research found that gaming was the ideal platform for people to “try on different hats” and take on a characteristic they would like to have.
“A game can be more fun when you get the chance to act and be like your ideal self,” explained Dr. Przybylski. “The attraction to playing videogames and what makes them fun is that it gives people the chance to think about a role they would ideally like to take and then get a chance to play that role.”
The research found that giving players the chance to adopt a new identity during the game and acting through that new identity – be it a different gender, hero, villain – made them feel better about themselves and less negative.
Looking at the players’ emotion after play as well their motivation to play, the study found the enjoyment element of the videogames seemed to be greater when there was the least overlap between someone’s actual self and their ideal self.
“When somebody wants to feel they are more outgoing and then plays with this personality it makes them feel better in themselves when they play,” explained Dr. Przybylski.
Working with co-author Dr. Netta Weinstein, also from Department of Psychology at Essex, and academics in Germany and the United States, Dr. Przybylski’s research involved hundreds of casual game players in the laboratory and studied nearly a thousand dedicated gamers who played everything from The Sims and Call of Duty to World of Warcraft. Players were asked how they felt after playing in relation to the attributes or characteristics of the persona they would ideally like to be.
Inspired by his games as a child with imaginative play, Dr. Przybylski was curious to see if the findings showed that games were used as a way of players escaping from themselves.
“However, I was heartened by the findings which showed that people were not running away from themselves but running towards their ideals. They are not escaping to nowhere they are escaping to somewhere.”
For more information about this study, please contact: Andrew Przybylski at email@example.com.
The APS journal Psychological Science is the highest ranked empirical journal in psychology. For a copy of the article "The ideal self at play: The appeal of videogames that let you be all you can be" and access to other Psychological Science research findings, please contact Divya Menon at 202-293-9300 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Divya Menon | EurekAlert!
Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT
Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
08.12.2016 | Life Sciences
08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences