Psychology and Computer Games
Computer games are very popular, according to some sources they are even more popular than movies, as demonstrated by annual industry profits. In the literature, there is consensus that violent computer games may make people who play them more aggressive, although the finding has been challenged. For example, some authors believe that studies showing detrimental impact on behaviour get published more often and are thus overrepresented in the literature.
Today’s computer games are far from what they once were. The first computer games were very simple, while nowadays the graphics and quests are so complex that computer games may even contribute to learning and life skills acquisition. Therefore, researchers argue that computer games may be very beneficial to players. Additionally, computer games may teach visuospatial skills and this may result in gender differences. Indeed, females are less attracted to certain computer games than males are and this could result in different career paths, creating further gender differences in the future.
Numerous theoretical constructs explain why computer games are so enjoyable. For example, computer games might meet players’ intrinsic needs (for example, competence and autonomy), which predicts more enjoyment than if the games only met extrinsic needs. Another theory discussed is Vygotsky’s perspective, the zone of proximal development, in which the task is challenging but can be done with the help of a more experienced teacher. Also, psychologists posit that the ultimate satisfaction is derived from a task that is challenging enough not to be too easy and boring, but at the same time not too hard so as not to become frustrating.
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Prince of Persia, one of the first classic computer games