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J Exp Psychol Appl. 2007 Mar;13(1):22-31.

Virtual driving and risk taking: do racing games increase risk-taking cognitions, affect, and behaviors?

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich, Germany. pfischer@psy.unimuenchen.de

Abstract

Research has consistently shown that aggressive video console and PC games elicit aggressive cognitions, affect, and behaviors. Despite the increasing popularity of racing (driving) games, nothing is known about the psychological impact of this genre. This study investigated whether playing racing games affects cognitions, affect, and behaviors that can promote risk taking in actual road traffic situations. In Study 1, the authors found that the frequency of playing racing games was positively associated with competitive driving, obtrusive driving, and car accidents; a negative association with cautious driving was observed. To determine cause and effect, in Study 2, the authors manipulated whether participants played 1 of 3 racing games or 1 of 3 neutral games. Participants who played a racing game subsequently reported a higher accessibility of cognitions and affect positively associated with risk taking than did participants who played a neutral game. Finally, on a more behavioral level, in Study 3, the authors found that men who played a racing game subsequently took higher risks in computer-simulated critical road traffic situations than did men who played a neutral game. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

PMID:
17385999
DOI:
10.1037/1076-898X.13.1.22
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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