This week, massively.com is featuring an article by Andrew Ross that overviews the last five years of my research journey. When I first decided to delve into the research side of psychology (as opposed to the more artsy, counselling side of the field), I knew that I wanted to only invest time into projects that would yield practical results. That is, I didn’t want to conduct research for “research sake” but rather identify a problem that was having real world consequences and uncover something about it that would have real world implications. I am proud to say that I seem to have made a step towards achieving this goal.
The article featured at massively.com this week overviews my work focusing on the social uses and impact of online video games. Online gaming spaces are highly social environments where millions of misunderstood and misrepresented individuals participate every day. Online games not only provide an easily accessible environment in which to meet and socialize with others, but also provide a range of social accommodations that can make socialization more accessible and enjoyable. For instance, the fact that communication within these spaces is asynchronous (it doesn’t follow the typically question-response pattern found in face-to-face communication) provides a range of flexibility in the rate and fluidity at which you can interact with other players. Focusing on the accessibility of the medium and its range of social accommodations, my work has explored the suitability of online games as alternative social outlets for those who may have difficulties interacting in traditional, face-to-face contexts, such as socially inept or shy individuals.
I am honored that massively.com has chosen to highlight my work in this area and feel very proud that members of the gaming community are able to relate to this research and find it applicable to their everyday life experiences.