The Process Model of Gameplay to Understand Digital Gaming Outcomes

The Process Model of Gameplay to Understand Digital Gaming Outcomes

Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2255-3.ch289
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Digital games have been the focus of psychological research for a number of decades, yet there remains substantial concern and debate about the potentially harmful effects of violent digital games on children and young people (DeLisi, Vaughn, Gentile, Anderson & Shook, 2013). These concerns primarily relate to the amount of violent content in particular types of digital games, given that evidence has suggested exposure to violent content in games is related to increases in aggressive attitudes and behaviour (Anderson et al., 2010), and reduced sensitivity to real life violence (Bartholow, Bushman, & Sestir, 2006).

While some researchers claim that there is conclusive evidence of a link between violent game exposure and aggressive cognition, affect and behaviour (Anderson et al., 2010), others have criticised the theoretical and methodological basis of such claims (Adachi & Willoughby, 2011a; Elson & Ferguson, 2014; Ferguson, 2007). This suggests a need to reconsider the way in which outcomes of (violent) gaming are studied. This is the key focus of the current chapter. This includes a critical consideration of the socio-cognitive models which are typically used within this area, and questions the extent to which they can effectively represent the range of potential outcomes of playing digital games. Following this, other key factors are reviewed, and presented as a reason to reconsider the theoretical underpinnings of this research field. Here, a Process Model of Gameplay is presented as a solution to further understand these issues. Specifically, this model aims to provide a framework through which to understand a variety of factors and the diversity of gaming experiences, and their combined role on gaming outcomes. In a practical sense, this can inform future psychological research to adopt a more holistic approach when measuring digital gaming outcomes, particularly in controlling for the extent of factors which are influential in this regard.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Intrinsic Motivation: Undertaking a task or activity for an internal or inherent sense of reward rather than an external reward (e.g., money).

Genetic Predisposition: The extent to which an individual is biologically determined to think or behave in a certain way.

Social Identity: The extent to which an individual defines themselves by their affiliation to a social group (e.g., gamer).

Emotional Regulation: One’s ability to utilise emotional stability.

Digital Games: Used here as a generic term to include all electronic games which can be played in arcades, on game consoles, hand-held consoles, PCs, and over the Internet.

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