Real feelings for virtual people: emotional attachments and interpersonal attraction in video games

Coulson, Mark and Barnett, Jane and Ferguson, Christopher J. and Gould, Rebecca L. (2012) Real feelings for virtual people: emotional attachments and interpersonal attraction in video games. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 1 (3). pp. 176-184. ISSN 2160-4134

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0028192

Abstract

Factors which may affect how people become attracted to virtual characters were explored in an online survey of players of a recent video role-playing game. Seventy-four participants (33 male) completed a series of questionnaires assessing their personality, motivations for game play, and feelings towards the ten non-player characters (NPCs) with whom they had potentially experienced extensive interactions within the game world. Results suggest that people form real and authentic emotional attachments to virtual characters, and that these arise from a complex blend of the players’ personality and motivation, and the virtual characters’ levels of physical attraction, friendliness (or hostility) and general usefulness within the game context. Implications of these findings, and suggestions for future research, are discussed.

Item Type:Article
Research Areas:Middlesex University Schools and Centres > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
Middlesex University Schools and Centres > School of Science and Technology > Forensic Psychology Research Group
Middlesex University Schools and Centres > School of Science and Technology > Psychology > Applied Health Psychology group
ID Code:9094
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Deposited On:30 May 2012 05:42
Last Modified:31 Oct 2014 12:24

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