Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Virtual Racing Games Linked To Risk Taking

Date:
March 19, 2007
Source:
American Psychological Association
Summary:
Psychologists have taken the "media priming" effects of popular video console and PC-based games on the road, finding that virtual racing seems to lead to aggressive driving and a propensity for risk taking.

Psychologists have taken the "media priming" effects of popular video console and PC-based games on the road, finding that virtual racing seems to lead to aggressive driving and a propensity for risk taking. Extending prior findings on how aggressive virtual-shooter games increase aggression-related thoughts, feelings and behaviors, researchers at Munich's Ludwig-Maximilians University and the Allianz Center for Technology found that of 198 men and women, those who play more virtual car-racing games were more likely to report that they drive aggressively and get in accidents. Less frequent virtual racing was associated with more cautious driving.

The findings appear in the March issue of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, which is published by the American Psychological Association.

Linking media priming effects -- the way virtual aggression can lead to the real thing -- to behavior, a second study found that men who played even one virtual racing game subsequently took significantly higher risks in critical traffic situations on a computer simulator than did men who played a neutral game. Sixty-eight men were in this study.

Finally, the researchers assigned 83 men to play either typical racing or neutral games on a Sony Playstation. In the racing games, say the authors, "To win, participants had to massively violate traffic rules (e.g., drive on the sidewalk, crash into other cards, drive at high speed)." Those who raced subsequently reported a significantly higher accessibility of thoughts and feelings linked to risk-taking than did those who played a neutral game.

Together, the findings suggest that playing racing games leads to riskier driving. The studies also highlight mediating factors, such as how the racing games prompt greater risk-taking thoughts and feelings, which may then result in higher-risk behavior.

The studies make both theoretical and practical contributions. First, the results support social-cognitive explanations of media priming effects, in which people built up mental models -- in this case, of aggressive thoughts and feelings -- easily triggered by a learned stimulus. That inner aggression is then the starting point for aggressive behaviors. The authors also showed that "positively framed" (the games are depicted as exciting and fun; they're also very popular) risky media content activates thoughts and feelings of arousal and excitement that are linked to increased risk taking.

Second, the authors observe that on a practical level, "Our results pose the question whether playing racing games leads to accidents in real-life road traffic." Based on their findings and prior research, they assert that, "Playing racing games could provoke unsafe driving. ... Practitioners in the field of road traffic safety should bear in mind the possibility that racing games indeed make road traffic less safe, not least because game players are mostly young adults, acknowledged as the highest accident-race group."

Given that children start playing these games on average at age 10 (based on previous research by co-author Jörg Kubitzki),the researchers are concerned that racing games may instill risk-taking attitudes that lead to unsafe driving when children grow up and get behind the wheel.

Article: "Virtual Driving and Risk Taking: Do Racing Games Increase Risk-Taking Cognitions, Affect, and Behaviors?" Peter Fischer, PhD, Ludwig-Maximilians University; Jörg Kubitzki, PhD, Allianz Center for Technology; Stephenie Guter, PhD and Dieter Frey, PhD, Ludwig-Maximilians University; Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, Vol. 13, No. 1.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Psychological Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Psychological Association. "Virtual Racing Games Linked To Risk Taking." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 March 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070318230331.htm>.
American Psychological Association. (2007, March 19). Virtual Racing Games Linked To Risk Taking. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070318230331.htm
American Psychological Association. "Virtual Racing Games Linked To Risk Taking." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070318230331.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Thanks, Marty McFly! Hoverboards Could Be Coming In 2015

Thanks, Marty McFly! Hoverboards Could Be Coming In 2015

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) — If you've ever watched "Back to the Future Part II" and wanted to get your hands on a hoverboard, well, you might soon be in luck. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) — Researchers in South Korea are developing a robotic pilot that could potentially replace humans in the cockpit. Unlike drones and autopilot programs which are configured for specific aircraft, the robots' humanoid design will allow it to fly any type of plane with no additional sensors. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Japanese Scientists Unveil Floating 3D Projection

Japanese Scientists Unveil Floating 3D Projection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 20, 2014) — Scientists in Tokyo have demonstrated what they say is the world's first 3D projection that floats in mid air. A laser that fires a pulse up to a thousand times a second superheats molecules in the air, creating a spark which can be guided to certain points in the air to shape what the human eye perceives as an image. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Apple Enters Mobile Payment Business

Apple Enters Mobile Payment Business

AP (Oct. 20, 2014) — Apple is making a strategic bet with the launch of Apple Pay, the mobile pay service aimed at turning your iPhone into your wallet. (Oct. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins