Games Influence Real-Life Behavior

The role you play in video games such as the rise of kingdoms (know more about the game at the rise of kingdoms fansite) can influence your behavior towards others in the real world, according to new American research.

How do video games affect behavior?

A virtual environment offers people the chance to take on an identity and gain experiences that they do not encounter in normal life, say Gunwoo Yoon (the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) and colleagues. They then wondered whether this virtual role makes a significant influence on the social behavior of the player in daily life. Their research, published in the journal Psychological Science, now shows that this is already the case when you play the role of a hero or villain through a video game for only five minutes.

Chocolate and chili sauce

194 students participated in the study who did not know what was being investigated. These participants had to play a video game for five minutes in which they were randomly assigned the role of a villain or hero, and then to fight against their virtual enemies. Then the participants were subjected to a blind taste test: they had to taste the sweet chocolate sauce and spicy chili sauce.

The participants were then asked to prepare plastic trays with the same sauces for the next participant. It was said that the next participant would eat these dishes completely empty. The result was that the test subjects who had previously played a villain in the video game put twice as much chili sauce in their fellow candidate’s dishes as chocolate sauce. This is in contrast to the heroes; they poured twice as much of the sweet sauce into the dishes as the spicy sauce.

Unconscious influence

The researchers suspect that the excitement experienced by the participants during the video game is an important factor in the behavior observed during the taste test. They are also convinced that people who participate in virtual role plays are not aware that this influences their behavior. The authors of the study, therefore, believe that both consumers and video game makers should be reminded that powerful imitating effects can occur when people put on a virtual mask.