What do players feel when they take down a bad guy in a first person shooter, such as James Bond 007: Nightfire?
Ravaja, N., Turpeinen, M., Saari, T., Puttonen, S. & Keltikangas-Jarvinen, L. (2008). The psychophysiology of James Bond: phasic emotional responses to violent video game events. Emotion, 8(1), 114-120. doi: 10.1037/1528-3518.104.22.168
In the exploratory nature of this paper, the authors describe a study designed to help better understand emotional responses to violent events in video games. The genre that is evaluated is the first person shooter (FPS) genre, using James Bond 007: Nightfire as the exemplary game. The authors state that little is known about the emotional responses that players experience when a violent event occurs in video games. As such, the goal was not to solve any specific problem, but rather to analyze players’ reactions when four specific events occur in Nightfire: the player wounds an enemy, the player kills an enemy, the player’s avatar (Bond) is wounded by an enemy, and Bond is killed by an enemy.
The authors conducted a study using facial electromyographic (EMG) activity and electrodermal activity (EDA) to index positively and negatively-valenced emotions. The authors identify several hypotheses that the results of the study present as plausible. First, upon wounding or killing an enemy, players exhibited negatively-valenced high-arousal emotions; against the original expectation that these events would trigger joyous feelings in response to the small ‘victory’ of defeating a bad guy, players felt anxious, possibly due to an ingrained moral code which states that injuring and killing is wrong. The second hypothesis was Continue reading