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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Personality of Online Game Players

Online game players score higher in openness, conscientiousness and extraversion compared to non players. They are eager to learn and master new challenges, they are motivated by competition and they enjoy social activities which can all be provided by online game playing.

The online game playing provides them with initial experiences of success and then provide them with more complex challenges creating a flow of immersed experience further satisfying their needs. This creates a positive spiral enhancing their online game experience.

Chin-I Teng the author of this articles says:"I also believe that skill of players matters in player intention to continuously play online games." Not only personality but also skills such as visuospatial memory,speed of reaction, problem solving skills play an important role.

Participants played various online games, including international popular games such as Warcraft3, Lineage2,Crazyracing, Rich Online, and Nostale.

Eight hundred three Taiwanese students were approached in high schools and universities, and 591 questionnaires were collected, producing an effective return ratio of 74%. The matched sample comprised 130 pairs of students, which was used for analysis. The two students in each pair were matched by gender and age because players and nonplayers were found significantly different in gender and age. A matched sample was used to minimize the confounding effects of gender and age. Seventy-one percent of participants were male, and all were between 12 and 22 years of age (Mean 16.06). Of the participants, 89% had a monthly income below U.S. $180,while 98% had access to a computer at home, reflecting the Taiwanese student population.

I wasn't sure about the design so I emailed the author and he confirmed that from the 591 students 130 pairs were formed matched for age and sexe consisting of an online gamer and someone not playing online games. The author:"Yes, each pair consist of a online game player and a non online game player."

The researchers used a scale to measure openness, conscientiousness and extracersion, the so called Mini-Marker scale of Saucier
This scale determines varying levels of introversion and extraversion. Along with introversion and extraversion the inventory also measures openness, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and neuroticism. The mini-marker asks participants to rate themselves according to 40 different measures (e.g. creative, extraverted, philosophical, and sloppy) using a Likert scale from 1 to 9, with 1 being extremely inaccurate and 9being extremely accurate. Although the mini-marker is a shortened version (about half the personality measures) of the NEO-5 factor, Saucier (1994) determined that it was representative of the full 100 trait NEO-5 factor inventory. The mini-marker was developed on behalf of many people who appreciated the fact that it was shorter and more efficient; however, Saucier (1994) stresses that because of the smaller version it may create lower reliabilities.

Online game players and non players didn't differ in agreeableness and neuroticism.

According to the authors this research shed some light on online game playing and personality, their suggestion for further research is to investigate personality to different online games.

The limitation of this study is the selection of personality traits, the change of finding what you are looking for is relatively large with this design. The selection of participants is relatively selective, students just aren't the average kid in the Internet cafe around the corner. These results can not be generalized to larger populations.So this research has some limitations nevertheless I like the outcome it counter balances all the negative publicity around internet addiction and game addiction.To my opinion these are just other disguises of the same problem and not a reason to hamper new developments such as Internet and gaming since this would lead to throw the baby out with the bath water.
Teng, C. (2008). Personality Differences between Online Game Players and Nonplayers in a Student Sample. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 11(2), 232-234. DOI: 10.1089/cpb.2007.0064

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