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Video Game Helps Study Human Behavior

A sign of the Internet’s ubiquity is confirmed by a new research study that shows online, interactive gaming communities are now so massive that they mirror traditional communities.

These findings are creating a new evolution of social science research where researchers are able to study human behavior using the game just as they study traditional communities like Miami, Pittsburgh or Minneapolis.

The research team analyzed three years of data (over 60 terabytes) from the complete server logs and click-streams of Sony’s popular PC game EverQuest 2. The data tracked every action performed in one of the world’s most popular massively multiplayer online (MMO) games.

Everquest 2 has more than 300,000 players who average 26 hours per week playing the game. Because of the intense level of involvement and multiplayer environment of the game, the researchers were able to study human behavioral dynamics using the game as a proxy.

The researchers used the virtual world to model the social and behavioral dynamics of individuals, groups, and networks within large communities.

Their study presented evidence that the social sciences are at the threshold of a fundamental shift not only in our understanding of the social and behavioral sciences, but also the ways in which we study them.

The research team includes University of Minnesota computer science and engineering professor Jaideep Srivastava; Northwestern University professor Noshir Contractor; University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign professor Scott Poole; and University of Southern California assistant professor Dmitri Williams.

They recently presented their findings at a 90-minute symposium “Analyzing Virtual Worlds: Next Step in the Evolution of Social Science Research” at this year’s annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest meeting of scientists.

Source: UnivUniversity of Minnesota

Video Game Helps Study Human Behavior

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Video Game Helps Study Human Behavior. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 19, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2009/03/02/video-game-helps-study-human-behavior/4480.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.