Psychological Study Helps to Dispel Gaming Sterotypes
If you enjoy World of Warcraft, or any
MMO for that matter, you have probably at one time or another found
yourself the brunt of a joke or two. You know what I'm talking about
the standard wisecracks about how you live in your Mom's basement or
living solely on a diet of hot pockets and mountain dew. Yeah...we've
all been there. However, a new study could help to dispel those
stereotypes or at the very least help you feel better about revealing
in your WoW geekdom.
World of Warcraft Psychological Study
study in question was conducted by
Lindsay Graham, a graduate student at the University of Texas at
Austin, and Dr. Samuel Gosling, a professor of psychology at the same
school. The study takes a look at why people feel the need to play
video games, particularly ones like World of Warcraft that have a
strong virtual reality component. The study took 1,413 participants,
average aged 26, who played on average 24 hours a week and had played
the game for at least 20 months and asked them a series of questions.
The results were published in the March 2013 issue of
Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking and were quite
surprising, at least for those who desperately cling to the typical
We Aren't All Crazy...Promise
As you are probably aware, WoW players
take part in the game for a variety of reasons. Some of us play to
socialize, while others play for the sense of achievement one can get
from the game. The study ultimately examines the relationship between
Five personality traits and their motivations for playing
World of Warcraft. Looking at the results from the study it is
revealed that there may be several links between a player's
personality and gaming motivations.
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One big revelation found in the study is that
players who play World of Warcraft for socialization purposes tend to
be high on extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticisim, and openness.
On the other hand players that go for the sense of achievement are
high on extraversion and neuroticism, but unlike those social
butterflies before are low on agreeableness and concientiousness. Now
don't panic if you are one of these types of players and are now
wondering if you are indeed neurotic.
Neuroctic used in this context is
simply one of Big Five personality dimensions we mentioned before.
People that score high on the scale of neuroticisim are less
emotionally stable, have higher anxiety, and can get angry more
quickly. This does not mean you are insane so rest easy and don't
call up the men in the white coats just yet. We are all some level of
neurotic when using it in this sense, it just depends where on the
scale you fall.
Not surprisingly those that seek out
leadership roles in World of Warcraft rate high on the extraverted,
openness, and conscientious scales. They also tend to be (as would be
expected) highly organized, enjoying planning, and are pretty low on
the neuroticism scale.
Other Factors Remain
While the study gives us an excellent
glimpse into why we as gamers tend to gravitate towards games like
World of Warcraft, personality is only one of many factors that play
a role in why we do things in game. A lot of outside influences also
need to be factored in. For example how much we enjoy jumping so we
can do that crazy spin as a Blood Elf or how much we love mindlessly
The study is pretty interesting and
certainly sheds some light on the players involved in games like
World of Warcraft. Studies like these are the first step in getting
the general populace to acknowledge the fact that gamers are no
different than anyone else and most certainly not all hermits with no
social skills. With that being said, the test group was relatively
small and being such can hardly come close to represent the enormous
WoW population. Therefore this and any study that relies on a small
group of people to make grand assumptions should probably be taken
with a grain of salt.
How do you feel about this study? Do
you think it will help dispel some of the stereotypes directed at
gamers? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!
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