Student: Charlie Quigley
Advisors: Nathaniel Foster, Michael Casey
The aim of my I.S. was to evaluate whether video game violence and passive viewing of video games affect recognition of in-game advertisements. Previous research has shown that violence leads to worse memory of brands in video games (Lull et. al., 2018). In the current study, participants were randomly assigned one of four conditions. Participants were instructed to complete a race in Grand Theft Auto 5 (GTA 5) while engaging in violent or non-violent behavior or asked to watch gameplay of violent or non-violent GTA 5. After this study phase, participants completed a recognition task on billboards in the game. A 2 x 2 analysis of variance and two independent sample t-tests were conducted to analyze the results. A significant difference in recognition emerged for the active groups between the violent and the non-violent participants. The non-violent participants performed significantly better on the recognition task than the non-violent participants.
I have been playing video games all my life. One thing I noticed was the boom in the video game industry and the slow increase of advertisements in games. More and more people are playing video games each day. When it came time to start thinking about IS topics, I kept coming back to video games and how I can incorporate that into my study. After doing some background research I discovered the topic of video games and advertising and it immediately piqued my interest. From there I brainstormed ideas until I landed on looking at how violence and playing versus watching impacts memory of in-game advertisements. Luckily, I found Grand Theft Auto 5, a game I had played a lot when it first released. I was able to create a race in the game that went on streets with fictitious advertisements the game developers made. From there, manipulating violence was as simple as instructing participants to be as destructive as possible or avoid hitting anything for the duration of the race. All the active gameplay participants were given a controller and completed the race and all the passive gameplay participants watched a video of one of the active participants playing. The console used was an Xbox One and it has a feature to record gameplay of up to 10 minutes long. This is how every race was recorded for passive participants to watch. Something I came to appreciate throughout the I.S. process but mainly in the testing portion is the time and effort that goes into in-person experiments. Many times, I spent whole days in the lab running participants. Each participant would only take 10 minutes, but I have to prepare the Xbox and all the necessary forms for each person too. A difficult part of my study was the number of participants I needed to find significant results. Having four conditions means I needed around 120 participants to sufficiently power my study. I had roughly 40 participants. Despite this, I still observed significant effects. I found that in the active gameplay group, non-violent participants performed significantly better on the recognition task than the violent participants.
Charlie will be online to field comments on May 8:
2-4pm EDT (PST 11am-1pm, Africa/Europe: evening)