Third Brown Bag of the Semester – September 20, 2013

Nic Matthews, Doctoral Student, Department of Telecommunications, Indiana University, Bloomington

Using Construal Level Theory to Predict Aggression, Hostility and Prosocial Outcomes of Video Game Play

ABSTRACT: A 2×2 experiment tested if game narrative and avatar similarity can change the way players perceive violent content via construal level theory. Because construal relies on psychological distance, low construal narrative conditions focused on each violent encounter leading up to a final enemy encounter. High construal narrative conditions focused entirely on the final enemy. Low construal social conditions used human avatars and high construal social conditions used reptilian avatars. After experimentally controlling for the amount, type, and context of violence, low construal narrative increased aggression and hostility, low construal social scenarios resulted in less aggression, and findings regarding prosocial effects were mixed. The discussion suggests that construal can explain disparate findings on game violence by accounting for psychological distance.

Kristin Lindsley, Doctoral Student, Department of Telecommunications, Indiana University, Bloomington

But You Don’t Make Games! Resistance to Casual Game Culture Among Core Gamers

ABSTRACT: The incredible success of social games on the cluttered new media market has created an uneasy conflict within the world of game development. Independent game developers, long accustomed to making games for a core gaming audience, resent and disdain casual game developers for diluting the pool of games with unimaginative, simplistic gameplay designed for new gamers rather than an experienced audience. This research examines the economic and social forces at play in the recent success of social games, and critiques the resistance to the social game model by many key players in the gaming industry.

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