Risk-glorifying video games and behavioral deviance

A longitudinal study of risk-glorifying video games and behavioral deviance.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 107(2), Aug 2014, 300-325.
By Hull, Jay G.; et al.

Character-based video games do more than allow one to practice various kinds of behaviors in a virtual environment; they allow one to practice being a different kind of person. As such, we propose that games can alter self-perceptions of personal characteristics, attitudes, and values with broad consequences for behavior.
In a multiwave, longitudinal study of adolescents, we examined the extent to which play of mature-rated, risk-glorifying (MRRG) games was associated with increases in alcohol use, cigarette smoking, aggression, delinquency, and risky sex as a consequence of its effects on personality, attitudes, and affiliations indicative of increased tolerance of deviance. Participants were selected with random-digit-dial procedures and followed for 4 years. Data were analyzed with linear mixed modeling to assess change over time and structural equation modeling with latent variables to test hypothesized mediational processes. Among those who play video games, playing MRRG games was associated with increases in all measures of behavioral deviance.
Mediational models support the hypothesis that these effects are in part a consequence of the effects of such gameplay on sensation seeking and rebelliousness, attitudes toward deviant behavior in oneself and others, and affiliation with deviant peers.
Effects were similar for males and females and were strongest for those who reported heavy play of mature-rated games and games that involved protagonists who represent nonnormative and antisocial values.

In sum, the current research supports the perspective that MRRG gameplay can have consequences for deviant behavior broadly defined by affecting the personality, attitudes, and values of the player.


Video games: there’s so much violence because …

Ken Levine, the creative director for the BioShock series

Modern Video Games Go Beyond ‘Jumping On Blocks’
June 28, 2014

Levine says that one of the reasons there’s been a lot of violence in video games is that it’s relatively easy to simulate, but more importantly, like action movies, there’s an “easily perceivable market for it.”

“You can really try to have a one-to-one interaction with a smaller, more dedicated fan base and give them the thing they want,” he says. “We realize we can experiment more because we don’t have to hit such a broad common denominator.”

Oculus Gear VR (Sep 2015)

Oculus Gear VR
September 2015

Goggles Bring Virtual Reality Closer To Your Living Room
March 16, 2014

Going back to ancient times, the aim of storytellers has been to immerse us in an experience — of another place, time or point of view. This past week at the South by Southwest film, music and technology conferences in Austin, storytellers and great technologists showed off new ways to take us beyond cinema, or TV or even traditional video games. One of the most compelling experiences came via the Oculus Rift, a set of virtual reality goggles.

I had the opportunity to try the Oculus and experience a variety of possible uses. Among them, a visit to the land of the Seven Kingdoms, the fantasy world of HBO’s Game of Thrones [not interactive].
HBO has a traveling exhibition that it set up at SXSW.

“That’s why we have epics going back to ancient times all the way to modern movies [and] video games,” he says. “People want to experience things they can’t experience in their real lives. They want to see things that are fantastic and virtual reality takes that to its ultimate conclusion. You’re not just reading a book or watching someone else do it in a movie. You’re actually able to do it yourself.”

This degree of realistic virtual reality is likely to raise dystopian fears like those expressed in the Hollywood blockbuster The Matrix, where human beings end up being hooked up to a machine and ruled by an out-of-control computer system.



When Playing Video Games Means Sitting On Life’s Sidelines

When Playing Video Games Means Sitting On Life’s Sidelines
October 20, 2013

The reSTART center was set up in 2009. It treats all sorts of technology addictions, but most of the young men who come through here — and they are all young men — have the biggest problem with video games.

Are you getting enough exercise, sleep and quality time with the people you care about? “If [the behavior] is interfering, then there’s a problem there somewhere,” Cash says.

It is called “Age of Wushu.” It’s like a Ming Dynasty-type game where you create your own style of martial arts.

In May, a new disorder was added to the DSM-5‘s list of conditions that warrant more research – Internet gaming.
Experts say the designation means this online activity is more likely to be recognized as a distinct form of addiction.

How Video Games Are Getting Inside Your Head

How Video Games Are Getting Inside Your Head — And Wallet
October 29, 2013

The first commercially successfully video game, Pong, invaded Americans’ living rooms 38 years ago. Since then, the industry has evolved from a simple bouncing ball in the Atari original to games with astounding graphics and sound

“I hate it. I really do,” she says. “He could play Xbox for 12 straight hours. [He has] friends in Mexico City and friends in England.”
Vanessa says Max is addicted to video games.
“When I took it away, he started to cry,” she says. “My God, I am offering you to go play tennis or go play golf … and I am making you shut this down, and you’re crying about it.”

They make you feel good. And it’s no accident, says Ramin Shokrizade, the game economist for Wargaming America.
“The technology for this has gotten quite sophisticated,” says Shokrizade, who began his career in neuroscience and behavioral economics.
“At this point, every major gaming company worldwide either has in place a fully developed business intelligence unit, or they’re in the process of building one.”

Today’s game design is dominated by research, he says. As we play games, game developers are tracking every click, running tests and analyzing data.

They are trying to find out: What can they tweak to make us play just a bit longer?
What would make the game more fun?
What can get us to spend some money inside a game and buy something?
So as millions of people play, designers introduce little changes and get answers to all of these questions in real time. And games evolve.
For example, most games today sell virtual goods right inside the game — like a new gun in Call of Duty or a cow in FarmVille. Shokrizade’s job is to get people to buy them.
One of the tricks of the trade is something developers at Zynga — which created FarmVille — used to call “fun pain” or “the pinch.” The idea is to make gamers uncomfortable, frustrate them, take away their powers, crush their forts — and then, at the last second, offer them a way out for a price.

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