Can a Video Game Make Someone Nice: The Positive Impact of Prosocial Games

Written by: Karl Kapp

“As game-based learning grows in popularity, questions arise to the effectiveness of games to change learner behaviors and attitudes. Often, the question arises, can video games influence attitudes? Can playing a video game improve customer service or even more basically, can playing a video game make someone “nice”? That is the question posed in 2010 by a pair of researchers from Germany and the United Kingdom named Silvia Osswald and Tobais Greitemeyer. They wanted to determine if playing a prosocial game would result in a person exhibiting prosocial behavior outside of the game environment. In other words, could playing a game make a person nicer? To find the answer, the researchers conducted a number of interesting experiments placing the subjects of the experiments in positions to assist others or not assist them playing a prosocial video game. Two of the experimental results are reported below. In every instance, the individuals who played a prosocial video game were more willing to help than the people who did not play prosocial games. This has serious implications for organizations that don’t just want to create games to provide content knowledge to players but who want to influence the learners to preform in certain ways such as providing positive customer service experiences or positively portraying the values of the organization.”

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