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The Social and Psychological Impact of Online Gaming

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  1. The Social and Psychological Impact of Online Gaming

  2. Agenda • 1:00-1:45 – Presentation • 1:45-2:15 – Discussion • 2:15 – Adjournment, Faculty remain in room

  3. About Gaming • 430 million people worldwide play video games (~7%) • 50% of Americans age six or older play video games • $31.37 billion industry in 2003 • Average age of a player is 29 • 39% of gamers are female (Zona,2004; Kagan,2004; ESA, 2004)

  4. Usage • Weekly average usage • ~28 hours of television • ~17 hours of Internet (other than email) • 3-10 hours of video games • 15 hours if Multiplayer Online Game • 30 hours not uncommon (AC Nielsen 2001; Harris Interactive, 2003; Seay, 2004; Yee, 2004)

  5. Why we should care • Gaming puts users in front of computers for long hours • Provides us opportunities for research and design in • Attention Management • Behavior Management • Experience Enhancement

  6. What is an MMOG? • A robust example of online community • Thousands of players connecting to and living together in a persistent world • Governed by “real-world” theoretical precepts • CSCW (Seay, 2004) • Psychology (Yee, 2004) • Sociology (Williams, 2004) • Economics (Castranova, 2001)

  7. World of WarCraft (WoW) Demo

  8. How Do MMOGs Differ from Other Online Games? • Persistent World • Game world is their whether or not the player is • More Players • Servers support thousands of players at a time • Much Emphasis on Community and Coordinated Action • People must communicate and/or work together to be successful

  9. The Problem • It is claimed that MMOG play causes… • Social Withdrawal & Detachment • Depression • Addiction • At least 10% of all MMOG players are allegedly addicted • 40 million in China alone (Bao, 2004) • MMOG players don’t have normal real-life social relationships (Scheeres, 2001) • Players engage in activity to compensate for feelings of anger, depression, low self-esteem (French, 2002; O’Dwyer, 2002) • Online Games pose a threat to academic development at the college level, particularly in Computer Science (Messerly, 2004) • Play can lead to dry-eyes, carpal tunnel syndrome, and “problems with school or work” (French 2002; Orzack, 2002)

  10. But seriously… • Korean Government allocated 3 million dollars to project aimed at combating online gaming addiction • EverQuest Widows • Deaths associated with online gaming

  11. Term Shift : “Addiction” vs. Problematic Use • We are NOT talking about chemical/physical dependence • Problematic Use: • Use of an entertainment or communication medium in such a way that it causes identifiable difficulties in one’s life. • What kind of difficulties? • Social and emotional conflict • Displacement of other activities • Dereliction of responsibilities • Timing as important as frequency/amount

  12. What’s Happening • The Media Effects Model • What effect a medium has on a homogeneous pop • You play – You get addicted – You get depressed • Simple substance abuse model • Exposure -> Dependence -> Negative Outcomes Negative Social & Psychological Consequences Play Problematic Use

  13. But… • Only happens to a small percentage of players (<4%) • Ignores effect of user’s ability to manage own behavior • Ignores environmental factors • We Need… • a more sophisticated model to get at who & why • unpack social from psychological consequences Negative Social & Psychological Consequences Play Problematic Use

  14. What Happens Considerably More Often… Engaged Use Play Engaged Use – The adaptive and desirable state of interest in and enjoyment of an entertainment or communication medium. Engaged Use of a social medium might logically have positive social consequences.

  15. A Framework to Develop Social Integration Effects Types of Use Types of Play Psychological Consequences

  16. A Framework to Develop Social Integration Effects Types of Use Types of Play Psychological Consequences Play Motivations Depression

  17. A Framework to Develop Social Integration Effects Types of Use Types of Play Psychological Consequences Problematic Use Engaged Use Self-Regulation

  18. A Framework to Develop Social Integration Effects Types of Use Types of Play Psychological Consequences Displacement Augmentation Social Integration Guild Commitment

  19. A Framework to Develop Social Integration Effects Types of Use Types of Play Psychological Consequences Depression

  20. Some Context as We Proceed Social Integration Effects Types of Use Types of Play Psychological Consequences Play Motivations Problematic Use Engaged Use Self-Regulation Depression Displacement Augmentation Social Integration Guild Commitment • What factors might predict Problematic Use vs. Engaged Use? • How might online gaming reduce or even enhance social integration?

  21. Phase One : Types of Play Social Integration Effects Types of Use Types of Play Psychological Consequences Play Motivations Depression

  22. Why do players play? • For Fun? • To Pass Time? • More specifically… • Why? • What aspect of the experience is rewarding to you?

  23. The Adapted Player Motivation Typology • Escapism • Playing the game lets me forget some of the real-life problems I have. • Achievement • I try to optimize my experience (XP) gain as much as possible. • Manipulation • I like to annoy other characters/players. • Relationship • I talk to my friends in the game about personal issues. • Roleplaying • I like to try out new roles and personalities with my characters.

  24. Why we care about why we play • Who you are and why you use something are important determinants of the outcomes of use • Bessiere et al (in press) • Different characteristics may moderate the influence of particular types of internet use on psychological well being.  • Different player motivations may lead to different outcomes • Uses and Gratifications Tradition (Communications and Media Studies) • Focus on why people use media – meeting needs • A richer and more robust alternative to the Media Effects model

  25. A Framework to Develop Social Integration Effects Types of Use Types of Play Psychological Consequences Problematic Use Engaged Use Self-Regulation

  26. Problematic Use & Engaged Use • Internet Addiction (Young, Greenfield) • Adapted from Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) definitions of substance abuse • Dichotomous items & arbitrary cutpoints • Brown’s Diagnostic Criteria • Tolerance • Euphoria • Cognitive Salience • Behavioral Salience • Conflict • Withdrawal • Relapse

  27. The Criteria in Detail • Tolerance – requiring more to get the desired effect • Euphoria – the feeling of enjoyment from use/performance • Cognitive Salience – thinking about something very often • Behavioral Salience – doing something very often • Conflict – arguments and tension with self or others • Withdrawal – anxiety and discomfort when removed • Relapse – inability to quit/reduce despite repeated attempts

  28. EAS Item Examples by Criterion • Tolerance • “I tend to want to spend increasing amounts of time playing Lineage II • Euphoria • “I often experience a buzz of excitement while playing Asheron's Call” • Cognitive Salience • “I rarely think about playing Battlefield2 when I am not using a computer” • Behavioral Salience • “I sometimes neglect important things because of an interest in Savage” • Conflict • “My social life has sometimes suffered because of me playing Unreal 2004” • Withdrawal • “I would hate to go without playing Guild Wars for more than a few days” • Relapse • “I have made unsuccessful attempts to reduce the time I spend playing Eve”

  29. Problematic Use vs. Engaged Use • The Bifurcation of Brown’s Criteria Behavioral Salience Conflict Withdrawal Relapse Tolerance Euphoria Cognitive Salience Vs. Problematic Use is undesirable Engaged Use is desirable • A conceptual distinction • Need to assess discriminative validity.

  30. Self-Regulation • Supports our ability to observe, identify, and adjust behavioral deficits and excesses • Three Classes of Self-regulatory behavior • Self Monitoring • Observing and Keeping track of one’s own behavior • ex.“When I’m trying to change something, I pay a lot of attention to how I’m doing.” • Self Evaluation • The comparison of one’s behavior to internally or externally generated standards • ex. “I have personal standards, and try to live up to them.” • Self Consequation • The creation and enforcement of contingencies aimed at managing one’s behavior • ex. “I get myself through hard things mostly by planning to enjoy myself afterwards.”

  31. How is Self-regulation Relevant? + Problematic Use Internet Use _ Self Regulation Problematic use as deficient self-regulation (LaRose, 2002) + Problematic Use Internet Use _ Depression Self Regulation Moderating effect of depression on self-regulation (Bandura)

  32. A Framework to Develop Social Integration Effects Types of Use Types of Play Psychological Consequences Displacement Augmentation Social Integration Guild Commitment

  33. Social Augmentation Hypothesis • Social communication on the Internet augments people’s total social resources by providing an added avenue for everyday social interaction. • The literature indicates that users of the internet… • have more total contact with family members than non-users (Katz & Aspden, 1997) • made more new friends (Katz & Aspden, 1997) • are more involved in their community (Wellman, 2001) • have larger social networks (Robinson et al 2000)

  34. Social Displacement Hypothesis • Social communication on the Internet displaces valuable everyday social interaction with family and friends. • The literature indicates that users of the internet… • spend less time and had lesser relationships with family and friends • (Gershuny, 2000; Kraut et al., 1998; Sanders et al., 2000) • have less real world social contact (Kraut et al., 1998) • felt increased loneliness and depressive affect (Kraut et al., 1998) • spent less time on social activities (Nie & Hillygus, 2001).

  35. Social Integration The fullness of one’s social life and the resources made available as a result of it Many possible metrics: An augmentation paradigm would indicate that online gaming would increase social integration Perceived Social Support Social Network Size Loneliness A displacement paradigm would indicate that online gaming would decrease social integration Social Integration Implication : Reduced social integration could lead to psychological problems Formal Group Activity Informal Group Activity

  36. Guild Commitment • An individual’s dedication to and involvement in a group • Organizational Commitment Questionnaire • Developed by Mowaday to quantify • “job involvement” in work groups (1979) • Adapted to fit online gaming • Respondent rates level of agreement with 15 statements • “I find that my values and this organization's values are very similar” or • “It wouldn't take much to cause me to leave this organization.”

  37. Why measure Guild Commitment? • Involvement and dedication to online groups could interfere with or displace that for real-life social and professional groups • Simple participation may have a different impact than committed involvement • On the other hand, the impact of commitment to an online group could be positive

  38. A Framework to Develop Social Integration Effects Types of Use Types of Play Psychological Consequences Depression

  39. Depression • A mental state of depressed mood characterized by feelings of sadness, despair, and discouragement. • Social Integration Hypotheses • Resources provided by the real or perceived presence and involvement of other people tend to buffer individuals from depression • Important sense of well-being and “peace of mind” derived from the ability to get advice assistance and emotional support from one’s social network

  40. What does the literature suggest? Perceived Social Support Social Network Size Loneliness Social Integration Depression Personal Traits Emotional Stability Self-Regulation Extraversion Social Integration Hypotheses Social Resources buffer individuals from depression. Regardless of the causative stressor(s) Real and/or felt availability of support & advice

  41. What does the literature suggest? Perceived Social Support Social Network Size Loneliness Social Integration Depression Personal Traits Emotional Stability Self-Regulation Extraversion Personal Factors Dimensions of personality and behavior associated with depression

  42. Summary of Concepts Social Integration Effects Types of Use Types of Play Psychological Consequences Play Motivations Problematic Use Engaged Use Self-Regulation Depression Displacement Augmentation Social Integration Org. Commitment

  43. Two Research Questions • 1) What factors might predict Problematic Use vs. Engaged Use? • 2) What is the social impact of online gaming?

  44. What factors might predict Problematic Use? • Time Spent Playing • Self-Regulatory Behavior – how active a user is in monitoring and managing their usage • Player Motivation - why does one play? • Depression - as predictor rather than result

  45. Predicting Problematic Use • Hypothesis I • Problematic use is predicted by not only by hours of play, but also by self-regulation, player motivation, and depression.

  46. Some Testable Models + • Moderation Model Problematic Use Play Hours _ + + Play Motivation Self Regulation Depression Play Hours + Play Motivation + _ Problematic Use Self Regulation + Depression • Main Effects Model

  47. Predicting Engaged Use Play Hours + Play Motivation + Engaged Use + Game Affinity + Guild Commitment Hypothesis II While also associated with play hours, engaged use is predicted by game affinity, play motivation, and guild commitment.

  48. What is the social impact of online gaming? • Does use interfere with “real world” social activity? • Might it enhance feelings of social integration for some? • What about negative psychological outcomes?

  49. Reminder – Social Integration & Depression Perceived Social Support Social Network Size Loneliness Social Integration Depression Personal Traits Emotional Stability Self-Regulation Extraversion Where does problematic use fit in?