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COM 375 Notes Test 2

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Department
Communication
Course
COM 375
Professor
All Professors
Semester
Fall

Description
I. Video Games: The Experience of Entertainment a. What we will learn in this unit: i. We will attempt to understand the experience of entertainment by looking at: 1. Some general game player and industry statistics 2. How does male and female game play experience differ? 3. Why do we see differences in game play between males and females? a. Play style, uses and gratifications, and evolutionary explanations 4. Using the following theories to answer ‘why’ a. Flow b. Catharsis b. Pay attention to: i. General trends in: 1. General industry statistics 2. General game player statistics 3. Trends in boy and girl game genre preferences 4. Girl and boy play styles c. Some player stats: 2012 i. 68% of American households play computer or video games ii. 49% of homes in America have a video game console iii. 62% of people play games with others iv. The average game player is 30 years old and has been playing games for 12 years 1. 32% are under 18 years old v. Game play differs by sex 1. Boys play more often and for longer periods of time than girls 2. Almost half (47%) of all game players are female vi. Percent female gamers 1. 2004: 35% 2. 2010: 40% 3. 2012: 47% d. Why the difference? i. Is it possible that girls experience games differently than boys do? ii. Is it true that girls don’t like games? 1. Girls prefer the following genres: kids games, classic board games, quiz/trivia, card, arcade, simulations, puzzle, 2. Boys prefer the following genres: fighter, shooter, racing/speed (although nearly equal to girls), sports, action/adventure, fantasy/role player, strategy e. To Summarize i. Females play less frequently and for briefer amounts of time than males ii. Females seem to like pretty much all game genres 1. Prefer arcade, classic and puzzle iii. Males seem to be more extreme in their evaluations 1. Like strongly – shooters, action-adventure, strategy iv. Both sexes like racing f. How is boy play different from girl play? i. Children’s play styles 1. Size of play group a. Individual vs. team play 2. Role differentiation 3. Player interdependence a. Turn-taking vs. co-work 4. Explicitness of goals 5. Number and specificity of rules 6. Direct competition ii. Male: 1. Play style: a. Direct competition b. Role differentiation c. Explicit goals 2. Genre: a. Sports b. Shooters c. Fighters d. Action iii. Female: 1. Play style: a. Turn-taking b. No player interdependent 2. Genre: a. Quiz b. Arcade c. Sims d. Puzzle g. Pay attention to… i. Evolutionary explanation ii. Catharsis iii. Uses and gratifications of games h. Why do we play? – An evolutionary explanation i. All mammals play, particularly social ones ii. Believed to be a mechanism for learning adult behaviors iii. Therefore, 1. There should be a neural reward for playing 2. Play will be a function of expectations of adulthood i. What are we rehearsing? i. Best-selling video game super genres by units sold, 2011 1. 19% - action 2. 18.4% - shooter 3. 14.9% - sport games 4. 11% - family entertainment 5. 9.5% - adventure 6. Shooters and fighters = 22% a. + action = 41% (violence) ii. Why rehearse violence? 1. We are savage beasts who enjoy killing 2. We are taught to enjoy violence 3. We fantasize about control 4. We want to be like our heroes j. Catharsis i. Aristotle’s idea that inaccessible human emotions can be experienced via drama 1. From the Greek word catharsis, meaning cleansing or purging ii. Viewing violence reduces aggressive feelings by symbolically discharging violent tendencies iii. What would a catharsis study look like? 1. If catharsis is used to “symbolically discharge violent tendencies,” the subject would need to begin with violent tendencies 2. Measure whether violent game play discharged violence a. Vs. no game play b. Vs. non-violent games 3. Choice to discharge aggression should be volitional k. What are gamers rehearsing? i. Sports & racing = 21% ii. Family & children’s entertainment = 12% iii. Why don’t we just ask people why they play video games? 1. Video game uses and gratifications a. Challenge b. Competition c. Arousal d. Social interaction e. Diversion f. Fantasy l. Why do some people not play video games? i. Top motivation for game play is intellectual challenge: 1. To get to the next level 2. To beat the game ii. What if I am bad at the game? 1. Typically won’t play because gameplay is an optional (leisure) activity iii. Do males and females differ on some factor (or in some fundamental way) that could make them bad at games? m. Pay attention to… i. Know the cognitive skill differences between males and females ii. Know how these differences map to game genre preferences iii. Know how this was tested experimentally and what the results were n. Cognitive skill advantage i. Female: 1. Verbal fluency a. The ability to access words based on some phonetic or semantic criterion b. Demonstrates extend and speed of access to words in memory c. Women have faster access to a greater number of words than males do d. Test: i. Q: List as many words as you can that end with ‘ay’ ii. Q: List as many words as you can that have ‘er’ in the middle 2. Color recognition a. Access to color related knowledge i. Speed of color name identification ii. The range of colors that can be identified iii. Women can name more colors faster 3. Object location memory a. A spatial memory and discrimination task to recall the presence and location of novel and familiar objects among other objects b. Test: i. Two pictures, each one with images that change position; participants must describe differences c. Females can pick out more differences than males ii. Male: 1. 3D spatial rotation a. The ability to imagine what a 3D object would look like from a different perspective b. Men can perceive objects spatially better, better at directions 2. Targeting a. The ability to estimate an interception point for hitting a moving target with a thrown object 3. Disembedding a. The ability to identify an object in a crowded field iii. What it means to ‘differ’ 1. Mean1 = 50 2. Mean2 = 60 3. Standard deviation = 10 4. Mean1 is one standard deviation higher than mean2 o. Cognitive Skills – Genre & Sex i. Male: 1. Cognitive Skill: a. 3D Rotation b. Disembedding c. Targeting 2. Genre: a. Shooters b. Action-Adventure c. Sports ii. Female: 1. Cognitive Skill: a. Verbal Fluency b. Color Recognition c. Object Location 2. Genre: a. Classic Board Games b. Puzzle Games c. Quiz/Trivia iii. In conclusion… 1. Males and females differ on some cognitive skills 2. Game genres emphasize certain cognitive skills 3. Patterns of skills and genres match gendered preferences 4. We should be able to replicate this relationship in the lab a. Predictions: i. Individuals who are high in a cognitive skill will perform better at a game that requires that skill ii. This relationship will hold regardless of sex iii. Individuals who do well at a game will enjoy that game more b. Cognitive Skills Results i. H1: Individual differences in cognitive skill will predict game score 1. 3D Rotation – Pipedown = .44 2. Verbal fluency – Flipwords = .41 3. Targeting – Missile Command = .29 4. Memory – Concentration = .25 ii. Results remain after controlling for sex iii. H2: Higher scores will predict game enjoyment c. Conclusions: i. While content certainly matters, perhaps an equally or more important reason for observed gender differences might be how the game plays; the experience of the game 1. Gendered play styles 2. Gender differences in cognitive skills ii. The challenge offered by the game may be as important as the content II. Media Flow Model a. Content to focus on i. Know the flow model 1. What are the three predictable outcomes and how is each one reached? 2. What are the characteristics of the flow experience? 3. What conditions facilitate flow? 4. What characteristics of media give rise to flow? 5. What is flow from an information processing perspective? 6. What is attentional binding? ii. The theoretical question… 1. How are: a. Cognitive skills, b. Game challenge, and c. Motivation 2. All related in the video game experience? b. Media Flow Model i. Compares challenge level and skill/ability level ii. As skill level increases, more challenges that can be overcome 1. Although boredom level increases – not as much challenge 2. Not enough skill = too much challenge, anxiety area “zone” iii. Best when skill and challenge are in balance, “flow zone” c. What is flow like? i. The activity is intrinsically rewarding ii. Intense and focused concentration iii. Merging of action and awareness iv. Loss of reflective self-consciousness v. A sense of control vi. Distortion of temporal experience d. Conditions for Flow i. Flow is facilitated by: 1. Concrete goals with manageable rules 2. Possibility to adjust opportunities for action to our capabilities 3. Clear feedback 4. Ability to screen out distractions to make concentration possible e. Elements of flow in media use i. Media difficulty 1. Does the media presentation follow accepted form? a. Is it well made according to convention? 2. How many skills are required? 3. How challenging are the puzzles? ii. Media skill 1. Practice/learning 2. Specialized knowledge 3. Ability (e.g. individual differences in intelligence or cognitive skill) f. Info Processing & Flow i. Three attention networks 1. Alerting/vigilance 2. Orienting/selection 3. Executive/conscious ii. Attentional binding 1. Cognitive binding a. To create higher order phenomena, neural systems work by oscillating in unison b. E.g. apple, grandmother, etc. 2. What if the attentional networks oscillated in unison? 3. According to Weber, flow is binding of alerting and orienting attention networks iii. Attentional binding leads to… 1. Increase abilities due to ‘super-attention’ a. High concentration and focus b. Sense of control c. Merging of action and awareness 2. Suspension of alerting and orienting attention a. Loss of reflective self-consciousness b. Distortion of temporal experience 3. Appetitive and consummatory reward a. Such binding should lead to release of neurotransmitters that create an intrinsically rewarding experience b. Positive arousal III. Video Games and the Supreme Court (Brown v.EMA) a. A violent video game is defined as a game “in which the range of options available to a player includes killing, maiming, dismembering, or sexually assaulting an image of a human being, if those acts are depicted” in a manner that: i. A reasonable person, considering the game as a whole, would find appeals to a deviant or morbid interest of minors ii. Patently offensive to prevailing standards in the community as to what is suitable for minors iii. Causes the game, as a whole, to lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors. b. First Amendment i. Exceptions for protection of the 1 amendment need to show actual physical harm c. Some History i. Several states had passed a law making it illegal to sell certain video games to minors, including: 1. Indiana, Missouri, Washington, Louisiana, Maryland, Oklahoma, Michigan, California, Illinois, Florida, Minnesota d. The crux of the legal case i. Are video games protected speech? ii. Are video games harmful to society? iii. Are video games worse than other forms of media? e. The verdicts i. Indiana & Missouri found that video games are speech and therefore protected by the first amendment ii. In all other states, lower courts overturned the laws, finding them unconstitutional f. Off to the U.S. Supreme Court i. Schwarzenegger v. EMA g. Why do legislators believe games are dangerous? i. “Video games are murder simulators which over time teach a person how to look another person in the eye and snuff their life out.” –Lt.Col. David Grossman, Killogy founder ii. “My research colleagues are correct in claiming that high exposure to media violence is a major contributing cause of the high rate of violence in modern U.S. society.” –Craig Anderson, Iowa State U h. Why do game makers care? i. Labeling games 18+ limits the number of places they will be sold ii. Definitions of unacceptable violence are vague iii. Game makers would have to meet as many as 50 different standards iv. Game makers don’t believe that games cause real world violence i. Amicus Brief i. AKA – Friend of the Court brief ii. A party with an interest or special knowledge in a case files a document providing information about the material the Court will decide on iii. For: pro-family groups, states, AAP (n=4) iv. Against: civil liberties groups, media industry associations, researchers, states, legal scholars, consumer organizations, U.S. chamber of commerce (n=28) v. Measures of aggression are questionable 1. “explore” or “explode” – those who choose explode are more aggressive 2. Noise Blast – subjects play violent or non-violent video game, subsequently asked to take part in a learning experiment a. Give noise blast for wrong answer b. Choose level and duration c. Results i. Duration longer by .16 seconds by people who played violent video game 3. U.S. crime trend a. Perhaps the best evidence b. Decreasing since 1994 c. Mortal Kombat and Doom introduced in 1994 d. Quake, Tekken, and Tomb Raider introduced in 1996 j. Court Decision i. 1 Amendment incursion requires strict scrutiny ii. Prior courts have all found that video games are speech iii. Research shows no evidence of harm to society iv. Research does not demonstrate that video games are a greater threat than other media IV. Music: Choosing Media Entertainment a. Media choice and the world of
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