Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
Session 03: Current Perspectives on Computer Games
Thursday, 07/Sep/2017:
9:00am - 10:00am

Session Chair: Nick Bowman
Location: Room CIV 260

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Once upon a game: Gaming nostalgia, need-satisfaction, and well-being.

Tim Wulf1, Johannes Breuer1, Nicholas David Bowman2, John A. Velez3

1University of Cologne, Germany; 2West Virginia University; 3Texas Tech University

Retro gaming is a widespread phenomenon: The success of PokémonGO and the re-release of the Nintendo NES console are only two prominent recent examples. A major driving force behind the motivation to play old videogames (or remakes thereof) is the feeling of nostalgia (Yang & Liu, 2017) which has been defined as mixed emotion induced by a sentimental longing for the past (Sedikides et al., 2015). Nostalgia is elicited by remembering meaningful experiences from one’s past, and has been identified as a psychological resource for well-being (Routledge et al, 2013). As pointed out by Niemeyer (2014), media “could become spaces to ‘nostalgize’” (p. 10) and provide people access to this resource. Especially videogames are a good vehicle for nostalgia as many people who are adults now grew up with the medium and often have fond memories of their playing experiences; especially those shared with friends or family members. The present study aims to explore nostalgia induced by remembering past videogame experiences and its relationship with need satisfaction and well-being.

582 individuals participated in our online experiment on gaming memories via Amazon MTurk. We excluded 47 individuals after failing an attention check, leaving our sample with N = 535 participants (64% male, age M = 32.69, SD = 8.60). We instructed participants to immerse themselves in and describe a positive recent or past situation in which they played a videogame either alone or with friends (2x2 between-subjects design). After the manipulation, respondents answered questions about nostalgia, intrinsic need satisfaction (autonomy, competence, relatedness; Tamborini et al., 2010), and several dimensions of well-being (optimism; Scheier et al., 1994, vitality, and feelings of connectedness; Sedikides et al., 2016). All scales were internally consistent (all Cronbach’s αs > .77).

We first conducted an ANOVA to check our experimental manipulation. There was a main effect of past versus recent videogame experience on nostalgia, F(1, 531) = 92.12, p <.001, ηp2 =.148. There was no effect of the social manipulation on nostalgia, F(1, 531) = .15, p =.698. Hence, we chose to focus on the difference between recent and past memories, independent of the social situation. Secondly, we employed structural equation modeling using the lavaan package (Rosseel, 2012) for R to investigate the relationships between nostalgia and our focal outcome variables. The model showed a good fit, χ2(254) = 676.99, p < .001, χ2/df = 2.67, CFI = .947, RMSEA = .056, 90% CI [.051; .061], SRMR = .047 (see Figure 1).

Nostalgia significantly predicted all need satisfaction and well-being variables. While nostalgia was significantly associated with all focal variables, it only explained a fairly small amount of their variance. One explanation could be that well-being is relatively stable and, hence, not easily influenced by short-term manipulations of videogame memories. However, our results indicate that feelings of nostalgia are positively related to intrinsic need satisfaction and psychological well-being and effects of nostalgic experiences might even be stronger for more state-like outcome variables and if people actually (re-)play the games instead of just remembering the experience.

Is Internet Game Addiction Contagious? Exploring Social Influence Processes among (Excessive) Gamers

Christoph Klimmt1, Katharina Knop-Hülß1, Nicole Krämer2, Matthias Brand3, Klaus Wölfling4

1Hanover University of Music, Drama, and Media, Germany; 22) Department of Computer Science and Applied Cognitive Science, University of Duisburg-Essen; 33) Department of Psychology and Center for Behavioral Addiction Research (CeBAR), University of Duisburg-Essen; 4Department of Psychology & Medicine, Medical University of Mainz

Excessive use of online games is a relevant manifestation of internet addiction, and psychological determinants of its onset have been identified (e.g., Brand, et al., 2016). Because online gaming is a social mode of entertainment (e.g., Quandt & Kröger, 2014), we explored whether social dynamics play a role in online game addiction – gamers could be influenced by their fellow players to invest increasing amounts of time into game use. In turn, addicted players could affect others to increase their amount of gaming. Such processes of received or exercised social influence have been found in drug addiction (e.g., Crofts, Louie, Rosenthal & Jolley, 1996) and may also display relevance in online game addiction (Wu, Ko, Wong, Wu & Oei, 2016).

Based on theoretical and literature work on addiction, drug dealing, and persuasive communication, six types of how gamers may exercise social influence on the amount of game use of their fellow players were postulated: Offering social support (e.g., helping others with game challenges), rendering a shared in-game group as more attractive, increasing other players’ game enjoyment, and signaling one’s own excitement over gaming were assumed as pathways of positive social influence. Communicating social expectation pressure (demanding other players to continue gaming) and inducing guilt (signaling negative consequences to other players if they quit) were investigated as pathways of negative social influence.

In 2016, a self-selected sample of online gamers (final N = 1078, age M = 21 years, SD = 7) completed an online survey that explored whether a) players’ self-reported game addiction (measured by the short scale developed by Lemmens et al., 2009) a) was affected by perceptions of being socially influenced via these six processes by other gamers (addicts as targets of social influence) and b) whether addicted players exercised social influence on other gamers (addicts as agents of social influence). Self-constructed short scales were used to measure the perceived social influence dimensions.

With regard to the perspective of gamers as target of social influence, binary logistic regression analysis (Nagelkerke’s Pseudo-R² = .13) revealed that of the six pathways of social influence, increasing group attraction (OR = 1.67), induction of guilt (OR = 1.54) and signaling excitement over gaming (OR = 1.34) increased the probability of respondents’ addictive game use. To explore the perspective of addicted gamers’ social influence on other gamers, t-tests revealed substantially higher scores for addicted gamers than for non-addicted gamers on all six influence processes (0.56 < all Cohen’s d < 0.79). Negative pathways of influence (expectation pressure and induction of guilt) were reported on very low absolute levels; hence addicted gamers seem to influence fellow players via positive routes of persuasion.

The findings suggest that social influence processes should be taken into account in understanding how online game addiction evolves and is sustained over time. Effect sizes suggest that individual-dispositional factors are of greater importance; however, addicted gamers report substantial agility in influencing co-players, which calls for network-based analysis of the ‘spreading activation’ caused by addicted players within large gamer groups.

Is It Painful? Exploring the Relationship Between Violent Video Game Exposure and Brain Responses to Pain with Event-Related Potentials

Ewa Miedzobrodzka1, Elly A. Konijn1, Johanna C. van Hooff2

1Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands, The; 2University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, The

Violent video game exposure (VVGE) has been found to result in desensitization (Carnagey et al., 2007). At a more cognitive level, VVGE was found to reduce motivational attention towards violent pictures, as reflected in smaller P3 amplitudes in an event-related brain potentials (ERPs) experiment (Engelhardt et al., 2011). To achieve the games’ goals players may train themselves to inhibit their responses to painful stimuli. In the current study, we tested whether VVGE may also affect ERP amplitudes while observing painful (but not violent) pictures differently for those high in VVGE than for those low in VVGE.

The response to pain consists of an early (automatic) emotional response and a late (cognitive) evaluation response (Ikezawa et al., 2014). An indicator of the early response is the N2 component (observable 200-300ms post-stimulus), while an indicator of the late response is the late positive potential (LPP; approximately 500-800ms post-stimulus). These two ERP components have been found to show larger amplitudes in response to painful pictures compared to neutral ones (Fan et al., 2013). In our study, we examined whether VVGE would be related to changes in pain effects for early, late or both ERP components.

Twenty male university students (Mage=21.19; SD=1.72), who played video games at least 5 hours/week, participated in this experiment. They indicated their three favorite games and the hours/week they played each. With the PEGI-rating ( they were categorized as players of violent (M-rated) games (n=8) or non-violent (n=12). VVGE was calculated by summing the hours/week they played(M=4.63 hours/week violent games; M=10.6 hours/week non-violent games).

EEG was recorded while participants viewed pictures of hands in a painful- or non-painful situation (Canizales et al.,2013). Participants evaluated the picture as (non)painful in 4 yes/no blocks, consisting of 48 pictures. Results were analyzed with repeated measures ANOVAs with pain (yes/no) as within-subjects factors and VVGE-group (violent, non-violent) as a between-subjects factor.

Preliminary results showed a main effect of painful pictures for the N2, F(1,18)=5.01, p< 0.05, with larger amplitudes for pain as compared to no-pain pictures. The Pain by VVGE-group interaction was marginally significant, F(1,18)=3.26, p=0.09; the pain effect was somewhat larger for the violent gamers. A main effect of pain was also found for the LPP, F(1,18)=19.53, p<0.001, revealing that painful pictures elicited larger LPP amplitudes. Although there was no Pain by VVGE-Group interaction for this late component, it seemed that, contrary to what was observed for the N2, this effect was slightly larger for the non-violent group.

Preliminary results are in line with previous studies showing larger ERP amplitudes for the painful pictures (Fan, et al., 2013). However, the larger pain effect in the N2 for violent gamers than non-violent gamers may indicate that violent gamers more automatically differentiate between painful and non-painful stimuli. Non-violent gamers may need more controlled processing to do the same. In sum, our study extends current knowledge on the effects of VVGE on brain processes measured with ERP (Engelhardt et al., 2011).

Not so natural after all? A Longitudinal Study on Effects of Natural User Interfaces in Video Games

Sören Rohde, Benny Liebold, Daniel Pietschmann

TU Chemnitz, Germany

Digital input devices are the primary way to interact with virtual gaming environments. Modern gaming technology provides players with natural user interfaces (NUIs) as an innovative tool for this interaction (e.g. a tennis racket controller). NUIs enable players to transfer knowledge of real-life interactions directly into the virtual environment through existing mental models (Tamborini & Bowman, 2010). Evidence suggests NUIs to be more intuitive than classical push-button controllers are (Bracken & Skalski, 2005), but not necessarily more effective for any kind of game. Previous research found positive effects of NUIs on enjoyment, self-efficacy, and performance (e.g. McGloin & Krcmar, 2011). However, most studies focus on short-term effects and use samples of novice video game players in cross-sectional research designs, who might react differently with increasing experience and compared to experienced players. Anecdotal evidence from players and the continued success of modern video games designed for classic controllers suggest that players still prefer gamepads. Two competing hypotheses concerning long-term NUI usage are the learning hypothesis, which assumes users to have increasingly positive and enjoyable NUI experiences over time. The novelty hypothesis instead assumes NUIs to be perceived as innovative and exciting at first, but less so over time.

Thirty-seven participants played a Tennis game (TopSpin 4; 2K Sports, 2011) and a shooter game (BioShock Infinite; 2K Games, 2013) in randomized order for 30 minutes each in five sessions spread out over five weeks. They used either a NUI controller or a classic gamepad. Both groups. The NUI group used PlayStation Move for both games, enhanced with the PlayStation Sharpshooter while playing the shooter game. We measured perceived controller naturalness, perceived self-efficacy, performance, enjoyment, attitudes towards NUIs and the participants’ motivation to use a NUI (again) to investigate possible changes in the players’ user experience related to both controller types.

Consistent to prior findings, participants reported NUIs to be more natural for both games. Perceived self-efficacy was significantly higher for NUIs in the tennis game, but higher for gamepads in the shooter game, affirming that NUIs are not generally preferable for all types of video games. Players’ performance in both games increased throughout the sessions, indicating a learning effect independent of the controller type. Participants enjoyed both games and both controllers equally. There were no significant changes in NUI players’ attitudes towards NUIs or their motivation to use them. However, explorative analysis showed a positive shift of attitudes towards NUIs by gamepad players, concurring with the novelty hypothesis.

Controller naturalness might not be the key factor when it comes to rating a controller, but perhaps more so the type of interaction as evidenced by the different experiences of self-efficacy depending on the game-controller combination. These findings underscore the importance of investigating longitudinal effects as well as different game genres to understand the influence of different controller types on gaming experiences. Future studies should tap into the influence of prior controller experience on user experience in controlled environments to investigate the role of pre-existing mental models of NUI controllers and classic gamepads.

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