Two New Studies Using World of Warcraft from Colorado University

April 6, 2011 -

Two new Colorado State University studies examines the potential positive effects of video games using world of Warcraft as its testing grounds. The studies explore how video game players can become deeply involved in their games to the point where they may block out the "external environment" and temporarily feel that their play environment is as vivid and important as the real world. Researchers at Colorado State University say that such "absorptive experiences" can be positive ones, providing important mental health benefits.

Two studies recently published by Jeffrey Snodgrass, associate professor of anthropology at Colorado State, examine different types of video gaming experiences and the effects they can have on players’ lives, including their levels of stress, satisfaction and happiness. In both studies, Snodgrass and his research team examined the popular online game, World of Warcraft.

In the first study, "Magic Flight and Monstrous Stress: Technologies of Absorption and Mental Wellness in Azeroth," Snodgrass and his team defined the experiences players have as "immersive or absorptive." These "altered states" can cause both negative and positive effects. Players' out-of-game habits and levels of distress, as well as their in-game play-styles, often determine the nature of such effects.

In addition to their own in-game observations, the research team conducted surveys and interviewed World of Warcraft players to learn more about their gaming habits. For the survey, they developed a set of game specific psychological scales to measure how absorbed players become while playing the game. Many players reported that playing World of Warcraft serves as a stress or tension reliever. Players who became more absorbed in the game reported more stress relief.

"The idea is that if you lose yourself, you escape," Snodgrass said. "So it’s deeply relaxing, what some gamers describe as akin to meditation, or at other times positively challenging and stimulating, like a great chess match where you’re actually one of the pieces, and we show that there are strong associations between these various states of consciousness and the game’s health benefits. But it is important to note that the escape must be controlled and temporary to be positive, so that it leads to rejuvenation rather than simple problem avoidance, which in the end only increases the experience of stress."

Many video game studies focus on the negative aspects of gaming. Snodgrass hopes that people will start to understand that addiction is only one side of video game usage and that his recent studies indicate that video game playing can be healthy.

"But we want to be careful to present a balanced portrait of online gaming," Snodgrass said. "Our study does show that in other instances players get drawn in too much and they enjoy losing themselves too greatly. That can contribute to problematic play and what some researchers even call online gaming addiction."

The second study is called "Enhancing One Life Rather Than Living Two: Playing MMOs with Offline Friends." It focuses on the differences between playing video games with individuals known outside of the game and playing with people met online.

Snodgrass determined that playing with offline friends (friends who are friends in real life) is healthier, because they can help regulate game play. Playing with real friends also allows players to transfer their positive gaming experiences into their real lives. Playing with real friends also makes it more difficult to have those immersive experiences, Snodgrass claims, which can be positive or negative.

"If it’s harder to immerse, that’s a double-edged sword," Snodgrass said. "You’re losing some benefits of playing such as reducing stress and tension, but you’re also losing some potential for addiction."

Snodgrass’ research team included Michael G. Lacy and Jesse Fagan, CSU Department of Sociology; David E. Most, CSU School of Education; and H.J. Francois Dengah, University of Alabama, Department of Anthropology. Both articles are currently available online.


Comments

Re: Two New Studies Using World of Warcraft from Colorado ...

This says the studies are posted on-line, but no URL or journal name was provided.  Anyone know where they can be found?

Re: Two New Studies Using World of Warcraft from Colorado ...

Something positive coming from World of Warcraft?

This is news, indeed.

"Power means nothing without honor and pride."

http://grifsgamereviews.blogspot.com My video game review site.

 
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
PHX Corphttp://www.polygon.com/2015/7/27/9050375/street-fighter-5-beta-offline-delayed Street Fighter 5 beta taken offline, now postponed indefinitely07/27/2015 - 9:51pm
Goth_Skunk@eZeek: Noooooooooo.... ;)07/27/2015 - 8:44pm
MechaTama31Re: Google+, wow. I never in a million years thought they would backpedal on that. I just resigned myself to not using commenting functions on any of their services.07/27/2015 - 6:21pm
E. Zachary KnightGoth, are you saying all women are fat. ;)07/27/2015 - 5:38pm
benohawkMake it more adorable and more gender neutral! Widescreen Dog and 16:9 their 16 kitten sidekicks07/27/2015 - 5:15pm
Goth_SkunkOr, if you prefer, Widescreen Woman.07/27/2015 - 4:12pm
Goth_SkunkWho will save us from this abominable practice?! Introducing WIDESCREEN MAN and his sidekick 16:9!07/27/2015 - 4:10pm
Andrew EisenInteresting coincidence. I tweeted about the evils of vertically oriented video just last night. https://twitter.com/AndrewEisen/status/62549836960397312007/27/2015 - 4:01pm
PHX Corphttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJ_I9-CkzDE The Great Atari Ransack (The Jimquisition) Warning Vertical video syndrome in one scene07/27/2015 - 3:40pm
MattsworknameBout time google07/27/2015 - 3:33pm
james_fudgeugh. TG man :)07/27/2015 - 1:15pm
MechaCrashGoogle drops Google+ requirements for YouTube and other services: http://venturebeat.com/2015/07/27/google-is-dropping-its-google-requirement-across-all-products-starting-with-youtube/07/27/2015 - 12:55pm
benohawkThat still isn't Steam pay royalties. At best it is Bethesda not being willing to relicense the music,07/27/2015 - 12:51pm
Infophile(cont'd) different service. This often happened with TV shows, where music was only licensed for broadcast, but not for DVD release. So for many older shows, they either have to relicense it or use different/no music for the DVD release.07/27/2015 - 12:36pm
Infophile@benohawk: It most likely comes down to the original licensing agreement for the music in it. Often those agreements only license it for the medium it first releases in, so it has to be re-licensed if it's rereleased in a different form or through a ...07/27/2015 - 12:35pm
benohawkWhy would steam be paying royalties on anything in quake?07/27/2015 - 12:01pm
black mantaI recommend using the KMQuake II patch which supports .ogg music files, then downloading the music from someplace, then dropping it in to a music folder into the \baseq2 directory.07/27/2015 - 10:32am
black mantaI got Quake 2 during the Steam Quakecon sale. Funny thing is, there's no music for it! Guess Steam didn't want to pay the royalty fees or something.07/27/2015 - 10:30am
black mantaLike EZK, I also have a backlog of games. Right now I'm playing Crysis 3 for the first time, and replaying Quake 2.07/27/2015 - 10:29am
E. Zachary KnightZippy, No. It is because I have a backlog of games a mile long and have not bought to many new games, which includes Mass Effect.07/27/2015 - 9:28am
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician