Priming effects of virtual avatars on aggression: Influence of violence and player gender

【作者】 衡书鹏周宗奎牛更枫刘庆奇

【Author】 HENG Shupeng;ZHOU Zongkui;NIU Gengfeng;LIU Qingqi;Key Laboratory of Adolescent Cyberpsychology and Behavior, Ministry of Education,School of Psychology, Central China Normal University, and Hubei Human Development and Mental Health Key Laboratory;

【机构】 青少年网络心理与行为教育部重点实验室华中师范大学心理学院暨湖北省人的发展与心理健康重点实验室

【摘要】 虚拟化身是个体在虚拟环境中的自我呈现,化身形象是与特定刻板印象相联系的虚拟化身的外在表象。虚拟化身与攻击性的关系已得到证实,但还有一些问题尚需探讨。本研究通过2个实验,采用线索启动的方法,考察了化身形象、游戏暴力性和玩家性别对化身认同和攻击性的影响,以及化身认同和攻击性之间的关系。实验1结果表明:化身形象与游戏暴力性交互影响化身认同和攻击性。在暴力游戏中,化身形象对化身认同和攻击性有显著影响;在非暴力游戏中,化身形象对化身认同的影响边缘显著,但对攻击性无显著影响。对不同化身形象的认同会诱发不同的攻击性,但受游戏暴力性的影响。实验2结果表明:在暴力游戏中,化身形象与玩家性别交互影响化身认同和攻击性。女性在化身认同方面比男性更易受化身形象影响;男性在攻击性方面比女性更易受化身形象影响。对不同化身形象的认同会导致不同的攻击性,但受性别的影响。

【Abstract】 A virtual avatar is a video game player’s self-presentation in virtual space. The physical appearance of an avatar can prime stereotypes and behavioral scripts stored in memory. The relation between avatar appearance and aggression has been substantially confirmed, but there are open questions about the conditions in which this association is strongest, and what the relation between avatar identification and aggression is. This study used a cue-priming paradigm in two experiments to test the effect of avatar appearance on avatar identification and aggression in violent and nonviolent video games; to test gender as a moderator of these effects; and to test the correlation between avatar identification and aggression.The first experiment investigated the effect of avatar appearance on the level of avatar identification and aggression in violent and nonviolent video games.This experiment employed a 2(Avatar Appearance:justice/evil)×2(Game Violence:violent/non-violent)between-subjects design.75 male participants were randomly assigned to play a violent or non-violent video game using an avatar representing justice or evil.Based on the first experiment,the second experiment explored the interaction effect of avatar appearance and gender on the level of avatar identification and aggression in a violent video game.This experiment also employed a 2(Avatar Appearance:justice/evil)×2(Gender:male/female)between-subjects design.42 male and 36 female participants were randomly assigned to play a violent video game using an avatar representing justice or evil.After game play,the amount of hot sauce given by participants to an ostensible partner who hated spicy food was used to measure aggression,and an avatar identification scale was used to measure identification with the avatar.The results showed that:(1)The relations between avatar appearance,avatar identification and aggression were influenced by the violence of game.In the violent video game,the identification with the justice avatar was significantly higher than with the evil avatar,and the evil avatar elicited significantly higher aggression than the justice avatar.In the non-violent game,there was a marginally significant difference between the identificationwith the justice or evil avatar,but there was no significant difference between the level of aggression elicited by the justice or evil avatar.(2)In the violent video game,the avatar effects were moderated by player gender.Specifically,the avatar identification of female participants was significantly affected by avatar appearance,whereas that of the male participant was not.Avatar appearance had a stronger impact on the aggression of males than females.(3)There was a significant correlation between avatar identification and aggression,which was moderated by game violence and gender.In conclusion,the results of this study supported the priming effect theory and were partially consistent with the existing research.Several factors influenced the effect of avatar appearance on aggression,including a video game factor(violent or non-violent game)as well as an individual factor(male or female),and the complex relationship between avatar identification and aggression.One social implication of the study is that game designers should embed more positive associations,situations,and stereotypes in games to provide users more positive potential priming effects.

【关键词】 启动效应; 化身形象; 游戏暴力性; 玩家性别; 化身认同; 攻击性;

【Key words】 priming effect; avatar appearance; game violence; player gender; avatar identification; aggression;


【基金】 国家社科基金重大攻关项目(11&ZD151);华中师范大学中央高校基本科研业务费重大培育项目(CCNU14Z02004);北京师范大学中国基础教育质量监测协同创新中心自主课题(2016-04-003-BZK01)

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