Study: Violent In-game Ads More Memorable to Players

September 4, 2009 -

New research indicates that in-game advertisement which feature violent elements may be more memorable to players than nonviolent ads.

MIT's Technology Review reports on the study conducted in part at the University of Luxemburg

[Researchers] developed a simple racing game called AdRacer... A player drives around a virtual course and scores points by hitting targets along the way--as she drives, unobtrusive graphical ads are displayed as billboard graphics... while a camera records her eye movements. After playing, each player's ability to recall of brands shown on the side of the road was tested.

 

Those who played a violent version of the game, where the goal was to run down pedestrians, resulting in a blood-splattered screen, demonstrated significantly better recall of advertised brands than those who played the regular version...

Of course, while violent ads may increase the player's memory of the product, they could also be a public relations disaster in the making. Technology Review notes that University of Luxemburg researchers have also found that ad violence can lessen a gamer's opinion of a brand.

GP: The screenshot at left is from the University of Luxemburg's AdRacer.


Comments

Re: Study: Violent In-game Ads More Memorable to Players

So is to "hit along the way" the same as to "run down"? It's unclear. There is room for doubt. From the linked reports I couldn't tell if the targets are moving, or if the player just drives through them "along the way."

If the targets are moving in exactly the same patterns as the pedestrians, it would be hard to claim bias, but this is not necessarily what the article describes. If the targets are stationary, or in any way more predictable or easier to run down than the pedestrians, I think Kabyk and MechaTama31 might have a point about possible bias.

 

(If the targets move in exactly the same ways as the pedestrians, why wouldn't they say so in the article?)

 

Re: Study: Violent In-game Ads More Memorable to Players

It doesn't appear that the study accounted for the possibility that having a goal like aiming for targets, not necessarily the violence, may make people pay more attention to their surroundings. The violence is not, as some above have said, the only difference introduced. I'd be interested to see the results if they had players aim for objects in a non-violent way, like going through rings or sets of flags.

Re: Study: Violent In-game Ads More Memorable to Players

They did.

"A player drives around a virtual course and scores points by hitting targets along the way..."

It doesn't make clear whether there are differences between the targets and the pedestrians, but it sounds like they built them to be very similar with just graphical effects differentiating the two.

Re: Study: Violent In-game Ads More Memorable to Players

My understanding of the article is that is what they.

--------------------------------------------------

I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Study: Violent In-game Ads More Memorable to Players

Seems pretty obvious to me. Violence (or at least some action) is interesting and can make things more memorable.

For example say you went to a resturant. You had a good meal, paid the bill and left, no big deal. Just another average meal. Now what if in the middle of your meal some stranger walked up, threw your food on the floor, punched you in the face, and ran out. I can guarentee you'll remember that forever!

Re: Study: Violent In-game Ads More Memorable to Players

Yet another bias study...How about the fact that players are more FOCUSED during a TIME TRIAL than when the goal is just to run over people?

I know personally I do, and CAN, pay more attention to the environment (includes billboards) when I'm just strolling around, rather than fervently trying to get to the end of the course before time runs out.

Re: Study: Violent In-game Ads More Memorable to Players

Agreed with the above; the only bias here is your own against any study which even mentions media violence. (They aren't even saying that violent media is bad!)

This is basically how you do science. Take two copies of a scenario, change one element between them, and see if you get a difference in the results. They did. People remembered more about the ads when the game involved running people over. The two games were the same design ("follow the course and hit targets") but for some reason, violence made a difference.

What does this mean? God knows. Maybe violence => more interesting => more memorable, and the ads benefited from the proximity to violent scenes. Maybe it was the grounding in reality, where hitting something with your car probably will make a mess, which made the players more susceptible to the ads.

Or maybe the sample size was 5 people and 2 control and the whole thing is meaningless. That seems to come up often in violent media studies.

 

Re: Study: Violent In-game Ads More Memorable to Players

As I ranted above, my guess is that the effect ties into survivability.  When threats are high we are more aware of our surroundings (at least at a subconcious level) since if bad stuff is already happening, more bad stuff increases the chances of a nasty case of death.

While if non threatening situations are happening, we tend to relax and start to zone out a bit.  Combat patrols run into this problem a lot.  We just are not as aware of our surroundings.

Re: Study: Violent In-game Ads More Memorable to Players

True, true. Blood splatter is not a normal sight for most people, so seeing it is immediately disconcerting and puts you on edge. Witness any of the numerous scenes in the Silent Hill series for a gaming example of that. Early on in the games you'll find a blood trail, and *foom* you're focused and on edge even though you're still just slogging through fog for the next few minutes. On the other hand, give someone a scene that looks like any boring old street and it will be just that: boring.

Re: Study: Violent In-game Ads More Memorable to Players

OK genius, what's the bias?

--------------------------------------------------

I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Study: Violent In-game Ads More Memorable to Players

How was this 'bais'?

They took a controlled test where the only differing factor was violence.  They then used an easily measured (and narrowly focused) metric.

Though it should be pointed out that they also found that when playing the violent version, the players spend LESS time looking at the ads but recall/imprint was greater.

Re: Study: Violent In-game Ads More Memorable to Players

This actually makes some sense.

I can imagine humans being tuned to be more aware of their enviroment when violent (and thus potentially dangerous) things are going on.

 
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quiknkoldhttp://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2014/10/femme-doms-of-videogames-bayonetta-doesnt-care-if.html10/30/2014 - 1:15pm
quiknkoldIf he calls himself the Effing Robot King, I can die happy10/30/2014 - 1:14pm
Michael ChandraAlso, yay for him being Ultron. :D10/30/2014 - 1:08pm
Michael Chandra"We become who we are. You can’t judge a book by its cover, but you can by its first few chapters. And most certainly by its last."10/30/2014 - 1:07pm
prh99""We are what we repeatedly do..."10/30/2014 - 12:30pm
Andrew EisenI would, however, call someone who routinely kills time by playing random games on their phone a gamer.10/30/2014 - 12:15pm
E. Zachary KnightMatthew, AE, Yeah, that is why I have a hard time understanding critics of Sarkeesian. I look at her videos as a Feminist review of video games, but for some reason, others look at them as personal attacks.10/30/2014 - 12:01pm
E. Zachary KnightDefinitely a good answer. That is the way I lean. If you actively chose to stop gaming, or just stopped out of habit, then yeah, you are no longer a gamer.10/30/2014 - 11:45am
Matthew WilsonAE i agree, but it is worth pointing out the fact that that is whats happening.10/30/2014 - 11:45am
quiknkoldbehavior to warrant having a Title that doesnt involve a piece of paper.10/30/2014 - 11:43am
quiknkoldwaiting in line. Thats not being a Gamer. Thats akin to me reading a Pamphlet in line and calling myself an active reader. or watching a movie trailer on a tv in walmart and calling myself an active movie goer. There has to be some form of repetitive10/30/2014 - 11:42am
quiknkoldbeing A Gamer is a Conscious decision. I am consciously engaging in this form of media and showing some form of enthusiasm. The only person I Wouldnt call a gamer is somebody who has a random game on their phone just to kill 5 minutes cause they are10/30/2014 - 11:41am
E. Zachary KnightSo how much time must pass since the last time you played a game before you are no longer a gamer?10/30/2014 - 11:33am
Andrew Eisen"Plays" is present tense so the clarification doesn't seem necessary to me.10/30/2014 - 11:18am
quiknkoldI would change that from "One who plays games" To "One who currently plays games". Like my friend as a kid playd games but then he stopped and hasnt for the last decade+ so I wouldnt call him a Gamer.10/30/2014 - 11:16am
Andrew EisenHmm, that sounds like a great idea for a series of articles! I bet they'd be well-received and not taken the complete wrong way at all!10/30/2014 - 11:12am
Andrew EisenThat's right, gamer simply means one who plays games. That's it. The idea that "gamer" refers to something very limited and specific, well, that's no longer applicable in this day and age of mainstream gaming.10/30/2014 - 11:12am
Andrew EisenMatthew - As I said last night, that is not a bad thing. Different types of reviews to serve different interests is a GOOD thing and should be encouraged! There is not, nor should there be, only one way to review a game or anything else.10/30/2014 - 11:01am
ZippyDSMleeAnyone see this? http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/10/29/1339617/-Cartoon-Gamergate-Contagion-Spreads?detail=facebook10/30/2014 - 10:55am
E. Zachary KnightNeeneko, Matthew, yeah, there is no "wrong" way to review a game. It all depends on who the reviewer wants reading the review.10/30/2014 - 10:48am
 

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