• Demolishing the Competition: The Association between Competitive Video Game Play and Aggression among Adolescents and Young Adults

      Adachi, Paul; Department of Psychology
      The link between video game play and aggression is an important issue as video games The link between video game play and aggression is an important issue as video games are the fastest growing form of entertainment in the world. Past research on this association has been focused primarily on the link between video game violence and aggression; however, this research has confounded the effect of video game violence versus competition on aggression. The main goal of the current dissertation, therefore, was to examine the short- and long-term associations between competitive video game play and aggression. In addition, the longitudinal work on this association to date has been limited to adolescent samples, but not young adults. Thus, the second goal of the dissertation research was to investigate whether video game play predicts aggression in the long-term among young adults in addition to adolescents. To address these goals, three studies were conducted. Study 1 consisted of a series of experiments examining the short-term effect of video game violence versus competition on aggression. Study 2 examined the long-term association between competitive video game play and aggression among adolescents, and Study 3 examined this long-term link among young adults, in addition to adolescents. Taken together, the results of the three dissertation studies converged to suggest that video game competition, rather than violence, may be a stronger predictor of aggression in both the short- and long-term. Overall, the current research represents an important advance in our understanding of the association between video game play and aggression, and leads to a new direction in the video game and aggression literature. are the fastest growing form of entertainment in the world. Past research on this association has been focused primarily on the link between video game violence and aggression; however, this research has confounded the effect of video game violence versus competition on aggression. The main goal of the current dissertation, therefore, was to examine the short- and long-term associations between competitive video game play and aggression. In addition, the longitudinal work on this association to date has been limited to adolescent samples, but not young adults. Thus, the second goal of the dissertation research was to investigate whether video game play predicts aggression in the long-term among young adults in addition to adolescents. To address these goals, three studies were conducted. Study 1 consisted of a series of experiments examining the short-term effect of video game violence versus competition on aggression. Study 2 examined the long-term association between competitive video game play and aggression among adolescents, and Study 3 examined this long-term link among young adults, in addition to adolescents. Taken together, the results of the three dissertation studies converged to suggest that video game competition, rather than violence, may be a stronger predictor of aggression in both the short- and long-term. Overall, the current research represents an important advance in our understanding of the association between video game play and aggression, and leads to a new direction in the video game and aggression literature.
    • Players and Avatars: The Connections between Player Personality, Avatar Personality, and Behavior in Video Games

      Worth, Narnia; Department of Psychology
      The increasing variety and complexity of video games allows players to choose how to behave and represent themselves within these virtual environments. The focus of this dissertation was to examine the connections between the personality traits (specifically, HEXACO traits and psychopathic traits) of video game players and player-created and controlled game-characters (i.e., avatars), and the link between traits and behavior in video games. In Study 1 (n = 198), the connections between player personality traits and behavior in a Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game (World of Warcraft) were examined. Six behavior components were found (i.e., Player-versus-Player, Social Player-versus-Environment, Working, Helping, Immersion, and Core Content), and each was related to relevant personality traits. For example, Player-versus-Player behaviors were negatively related to Honesty-Humility and positively related to psychopathic traits, and Immersion behaviors (i.e., exploring, role-playing) were positively related to Openness to Experience. In Study 2 (n = 219), the connections between player personality traits and in-game behavior in video games were examined in university students. Four behavior components were found (i.e., Aggressing, Winning, Creating, and Helping), and each was related to at least one personality trait. For example, Aggressing was negatively related to Honesty-Humility and positively related to psychopathic traits. In Study 3 (n = 90), the connections between player personality traits and avatar personality traits were examined in World of Warcraft. Positive player-avatar correlations were observed for all personality traits except Extraversion. Significant mean differences between players and avatars were observed for all traits except Conscientiousness; avatars had higher mean scores on Extraversion and psychopathic traits, but lower mean scores on the remaining traits. In Study 4, the connections between player personality traits, avatar traits, and observed behaviors in a life-simulation video game (The Sims 3) were examined in university students (n = 93). Participants created two avatars and used these avatars to play The Sims 3. Results showed that the selection of certain avatar traits was related to relevant player personality traits (e.g., participants who chose the Friendly avatar trait were higher in Honesty-Humility, Emotionality, and Agreeableness, and lower in psychopathic traits). Selection of certain character-interaction behaviors was related to relevant player personality traits (e.g., participants with higher levels of psychopathic traits used more Mean and fewer Friendly interactions). Together, the results of the four studies suggest that individuals generally behave and represent themselves in video games in ways that are consistent with their real-world tendencies.