Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

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Factoring in Gamer Identity: The Application of Social Identity Theory and Flow to Understanding Video Game Violence Effects
by Hoffswell, Joseph, Ph.D., University of Missouri - Columbia, 2017, 126; 13869874
Abstract (Summary)

The video game industry has become integrated into American lives and has continued to grow at a steady rate. This project utilizes social identity theory, selfcategorization theory, and flow theory to examine differences in aggression and processing of video games between three gamer types: non-gamer, casual gamer, and core gamer. A careful review of previous literature was conducted to explore research involving violent video games, various effects caused by video game play, and how video game research has been utilized in conjunction with social identity theory, selfcategorization theory, and flow theory. A gap in the literature was identified that most studies focusing on video game effects did not address participants’ relationship with video games beyond the amount of time dedicated to gameplay. In past research focused on analyzing gamer identity (Neys, Jansz, and Tan, 2014), non-gamers were excluded from analyses, limiting the conclusions one can make about how video game may affect gamers versus non-gamers differentially. Gamer identity is not unidimensional, rather different types of gamers have a different level of investment in the time they dedicate to video games as well as preferences for what they play. This project explored the idea that gamers may react differently to video game stimuli when compared to non-gamers. Grand Theft Auto IV was utilized as a stimulus in an experiment that measured how violence impacts the different types of gamers. The results indicated that core gamers do react to violent content differently than non-gamers and casual gamers in that hostility and empathy are unaffected by short-term exposure to a violent game stimulus for core gamers. This study suggests that core gamers process video game stimuli differently than non-gamers and casual gamers. The mechanisms by which this happens were not explored, but the consistency of the results provide evidence for unique processing of video game stimulus by core gamers. Results are discussed, and suggestions are made for future research.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Behm-Morawitz, Elizabeth
Commitee: Bartholow, Bruce, Behm-Morawitz, Elizabeth, Riles, Julius M., Warner, Benjamin
School: University of Missouri - Columbia
Department: Communication
School Location: United States -- Missouri
Source: DAI-A 80/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social psychology, Communication, Mass communications
Keywords: Communication, Gamer, Social identity, State hostility, Video games, Violence
Publication Number: 13869874
ISBN: 9781392012260
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