Do Games Bring Out a„Worst Side‟?The Future Identity in the Virtual WorldsBy Emma HepburnCE502Student Number: 1104237PsychologicalIdentity
What is Identity?Psychologists say Mental stateshave no separate existence fromthe brain itself- The Identity theoryColeman, (2006, pp. 363)Contextual Selves- We contain MultitudesWalt Witman (Psycology Today, 2013)Performance- Body ProjectsPhoenix (2007, pp. 49 – 50)Ideas around themeaning of identity:
Social Identity Theory(Tajfel and Turner1979, 1986)
Personality Identity – „Be my-self‟Social Identity – „Finding self‟Social Identity theory refers to thecategorization of the social self and itsconcept. This is the „self concept‟ derived ingroup membership.The „ingroup‟ „outgroup‟ effect providesmembers a sense of who they are.This effects behaviour, such as evaluatingoneself and defining oneself.Core Ideas:- Have more than „one‟ self- Contextual identity and change- Different situations forces individual to act based onown opinions and personality- Many social identities- Element of performance- Technology of self
Multiple IdentitiesThe Debate:Tensions between two aspects- „Be myself‟- „Finding True Self‟Product of personal biography (narrative self)Polkinghorne, (1991, pp. 135-153)Seeking multiple identification to and a withothers who share values, histories and interests.Variations of self, due to social context.Buckingham (2007, pp. 2-22)Performance Identity and Technology of SelfSocially, identity can be used in a performancesense to project a certain desired side ofoneself. This depends highly on the socialcontext and relates to social desirability effect.For some, bodies can become „projects‟ tomanipulate for the sake of presenting a certainidentity to others. Altering ones body to createan identity as a „technology of self‟.
How do these relate to ourvirtual selves in games?Altering Perception, Mirroring Avatars and Narratologists
Altering Self PerceptionA role-playing type of aninteractive game can altera players self perception.Positively evaluated characters in themedia are shown to evoke empathywhere as those who are consideredmorally bad evoke counterempathy.When playing a pro-social character in agame, a subject is more likely to displayempathy.When playing a socially undesirablecharacter in a game, a subject is morelikely to show little empathy.In order to achieve their ideals and tomaintain positive self image, a personmay stay relatively pro-social, becauseof social desirability.Sueng – A Annie Jin (2011, pp. 1175- 1185)
Mirroring AvatarsIt has been arguedthat a virtualidentity is a truerreflection ofoneself.Cooper, explored whether digitalrepresentations in virtualenvironments were a true echo ofsomeone‟s image in the realworld.Although some enjoy theanonymity of an Avatar, thatvirtual being becomes part oftheir life.In virtual worlds, multipleidentities are offered and a freerway to self-define.An element of expressing a differentside and escaping the social constraintsof real life.Avatars tend to self regulate – the morefreedom you give the player the morethe player restricts himself and mirrorsown human behaviour.„Take Second Life. Its a place whereyou can get away from your first lifebut it ends up looking exactly like… mybackyard.Chan (2007)
NarratologistsThe Sims - GameStudy games and their storytellingmedia.The debate:There is an immediate conflict between thestory, and the game and each of theirdemands.The ability given to design owncharacters encourages players tocreate those that are emotionallysignificant.This gives players a chance torehearse scenarios andrelationships with others.Experience avatars with emotionalneeds and learn fromconsequential actions.Gibberish language in „The Sims‟allow for the mapping of our ownideas and meanings.„The Sims‟ game leaves the playerwith some narrative satisfaction.As we are always looking for the„meaningful whole‟ we can projectthat onto the idea that a gamealways has a purpose.Jenkins (no date)
OverallYouth Violence- School shootings - game players.- One risk factor – contributes toanti-social behaviour- David Grossman - military gamesused for training, also brutaliseyoung players.- Early games - made for shootinganything that moved, the youngperson playing ill equipped for realworld.- Speculation of anti-socialbehaviour on heavy gamers lackinginterest they show in their peersoutside of virtual worlds.- Heavy use has negative outcomein academic achievements, self-esteem and sociability.- Preference for violent games arelinked to poor achieving students.Social Effects Health Effects- Reports of seizures occurring inchildren whilst playing videogames- Long term decreased visualdevelopment.- Game addiction can lead tosevere heath problems.A Korean man for example madethe news in collapsing and laterdying after continuously playing„StarCraft‟. He had little sleepand little nutrition during themarathon.Lee and Peng (2006, pp. 327-345)
AggressionRe-inforces:- Aggression based cognitive structuring- Perceptual Schemata- Personal ScriptsMore importantly:Changes aggressive personalityRepeated Playing ofViolent Video Games
The Research So FarLinking identity and Negative Gaming effects
Does this add up?Looking at identity:Social Identity Theory- More than one self- Depends highly on contextPerformance Identity- See ourselves as somethingto perform- Based on social contextTechnology of self- Social desirabilitySocial perception- Altered with pro-socialcharacters and anti-social characters- However, norms are tostay pro-social.Mirroring Avatars- Self Regulation- The more freedom, themore restrictionNarrative- Meaningful wholeLooking at Negative Research:Having more that one „self‟ may bewhat we see changing in violentgames; the appropriate contextualresponse is to be aggressive.Because of this response to context,what people may show only shortterm aggression.Some of the negative effects ofgames here do not link with thetheories behind identity.Most identity research focus on howpeople stay pro-social.
So the Contrary!Southwell and Doyle(2004, pp. 391-401)Explore the possibility thatcritics often fail tounderstand different levelsof analysis that expressdifferent variabilitys.There can be asimultaneous existence ofboth positive and negativeconsequences of virtualenvironments.Ferguson(2007, pp. 309-316)Set out to explore theeffects of violentvideogames.Findings showedpublication bias hugelydisrupted true results.Once corrected, there wasno correlation betweenviolent video games andexhibiting an aggressiveside.Valadez and Ferguson(2012, pp. 608-616)100 participants usedFindings:Randomized video game playhad no effect on depression,hostility or visuospatioalcognition.Length of time spent playinghad no effect on depression,hostility or visuospatioalcognition.
LearningUtility in Educational Games:- For leaning disabilitieseducational games improvemotivation.- In military trainees thesegames improve memoryretention.- In general Motivation isimproved- Beneficial in teachingstrategic management.- Improvement in maths,solving problems, readingand comprehension.Lee and Peng (2006, pp. 327-345)- Even using fantasy intoeducation can facilitatefocalization of attention.- Emotionally appealingmetaphor or use of fantasyengages the subjects.- Virtual environmentsincrease positivity, andreduce anxiety whenlearningWhener, Gump and Downey (2011, pp.277-289)
Myths RevealedAn Interesting Article shows common myths aboutwhat people may think about gaming, gamers andthe effects of.http://www.pbs.org/kcts/videogamerevolution/impact/myths.html
Do Games Bring Out a „Worst Side‟?Psychological IdentityAccording to psychological identity, the research ismixed.Social Identity Theory – suggests pro-socialbehaviour is more likely to be practiced due tobeing an „ideal self‟ or having a desire to performsocially desirable behaviour.Mirroring – shows that subjects tend to use theiravatars as a tool to escape life-like bounderies. Ifthe subject has underlining aggression issues oranti-social behaviour, it may show itself in gaming.Learning – educational games however improvesmental abilities in many people, including thosewith learning difficulties.
Games overall do not seem tobring out a „Worst Side‟.According to Psychological IdentityFuture research next…
Due to the literature - the ideathat games have been known toproduce aggressive responses, - itmay be worth looking types ofpeople prone to act upon thisaggression outside of the virtualworld.Another idea for future studycould be: Do those who mirroraggressive behaviours in theiravatar, have aggressivebehaviour themselves?For example, this articleexpresses that restrictionsmust me made for those whoare mentally unstable.This article states the media isblamed many times for ludicrousacts such as massacres.For example, the „Rise of the DarkKnight‟ film provoked a Jame‟sHolmes to commit a massshooting, because allegedly he was„Acting like a character from themovie.The numbers of those who saw thismovie but did not actaggressively, massively outweighthe one who did.This shows there may be anunderlining problem within theindividual.The article touches on whetherthere should be restrictions tothose who have underlining mentalhealth issues.Final future proposal:‘Should those with mental healthproblems, have restrictions ongames and the media?’This may need to be investigatedas the majority of those playinggames have positive effects.
“”That‟s it from mePresentation By Emma HepburnDo Games Bring Out a „Worst Side‟?
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