Violent video games are more popular because they fulfill basic needs –

from Cristina Marrone

According to the research, video games such as GTA, Fortnite and Call of Duty fulfill needs such as a sense of control, social relationships and skills. For some, they represent a refuge to achieve greater self-esteem

Video games are not just a hobby for children or teenagers. People of all ages, men, but increasingly also women, from all walks of life play video games, which are now found in almost every home in the world. However, there is one genre of game that seems to be the most popular of all: the violent game and we don’t really know why. Many criticize GTA, Fortnite, COD for their aggressive content, but few studies have investigated why these games are so popular. Now a study published in Motivation Science conducted by University of Sydney biology and psychology researchers and reported by the Medical Press suggests that violent games are very popular because they provide the opportunity to satisfy our psychological needs. The motivations that drive us to play violent video games would come from our desire to improve as individuals: «They allow us to do that improve our skills compared to others and overcome our fearsIs the perception of Michael Kasumovic, one of the authors of the study from the School of Psychology, UNSW Science in Sydney. A kind of reward effect in relation to our motivation.

Fulfillment of primary desires

According to the research, it is the human aspects that are rewarded by video games sense of control, social relations and recognition of our competences. Violent video games usually provide all of this, whether it’s choosing more powerful weapons, killing enemies, working with other characters, or achieving new goals. “Violent video games lend themselves to satisfying our psychological needs because they are designed in a way that allows us to achieve a sense of control and achievement and helps us understand where we fit into a social hierarchy based on our game performance,” says Kasumovic. . Violent video games also allow gamers to experiment, according to the research dangerous situations that we would probably not face in real life.

Like sports

According to the authors, the reason we play violent video games could be similar to some of the reasons for it they push us to play sports. Basically, they are a way to dealing with aggressive behavior and our innate drive to compete in a socially acceptable way. “Violent video games help explore our fears around death and can help express emotions, esp anger. Before the digital age, people had to leave the house to play with others, today we have the means to do that with digital interactions,” says Kasumovic. Unlike traditional sports, video games can be mastered by almost anyone, regardless of physical ability: in fact, physical strength or athletic performance is not the basis of success, but skill and the level reached with experience. Basically, you can win games and become champions from the comfort of your couch.

Looking for a haven

According to the authors, violent video games also represent a refuge for those who have frustrated desires or find themselves in an unsatisfying social status. Research actually suggests that those who perceive themselves as inferior in their social group or those who experience an unsatisfied desire for dominance (influence or control over others) have a greater chance of playing violent video games: The less these needs are met in the real world, the more likely they are to be sought in the digital world.

“Video games can give some people the opportunity to get what they can’t get in the real world, e.g greater self-esteem and a better social position. It is possible that people from lower social groups are attracted to violent video games out of a desire to achieve a higher status that they may be able to achieve in the game,” the authors say. Playing online with other people allows you to get instant feedback and pushes you to play more and more to constantly improve your performance: this can lead to addiction, with the risk of virtual life imposing itself on the real. An unanswered question remains: Can the effects of psychological satisfaction obtained from violent video games transfer to everyday life? Researchers will try to understand with further studies whether there can actually be real effects on management structure and the team’s work.

4 August 2022 (change 4 August 2022 | 17.47)

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