ICA 2014

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This year’s annual meeting of the International Communication Association will be taking place in Seattle at the end of May. I am excited to announce that this year I will be presenting two research articles, one at the Game Studies pre-conference and one in the Game Studies’ SIG of the main conference. I will also be co-presenting an additional article in the Game Studies’ SIG that I co-authored with Emese Domahidi. All of these projects focus on the social and psychological causes and consequences of online video game involvement. The abstracts of these projects/presentations are outlined below:

Psychosocial Causes and Consequences of Increased Online Video Game Engagement (Kowert, Vogelgesang, Festl, Quandt) – this paper is a loose replication of Lemmens et al. (2011) work looking at the links between psychosocial variables and video game involvement over time. Focusing on the role of online game play frequency and gamer self-identification, rather than problematic play, this study examined the relationships between social capital, self-esteem, life satisfaction, and online game play. After controlling for gender and age, four separate cross-lagged SEM models were estimated. Only one out of four models showed significant relationships and confirmed the hypothesized direction of effects: In addition to a positive cross-sectional correlation, the model indicates that identifying as an online gamer predicts life satisfaction over time. Apart from that, all cross sectional and cross-lagged effects of the other three SEM were non-significant. Second, using average online gaming frequency we re-estimated the four SEM to obtain effect sizes for the online gaming population only. Again, only one model out of four models showed a significant relationship: We obtained a negative cross-sectional correlation between life satisfaction and average online gaming frequency without the corresponding cross-lagged effect. With the exception of the relationship between life satisfaction and being an online gamer, the results largely disconfirm the research hypotheses and suggest that online video game play does not have a substantial negative impact on players’ psychosocial well-being over time.

Examining the Relationship between Online Video Game Involvement and Gaming-Related Friendships among Emotionally Sensitive Individuals (Kowert & Domahidi) – this paper examines the extent to which online gaming spaces are contributing to tangible social benefits for the socially inhibited by evaluating the link between gaming-related friendships and shyness, as quantified by emotional sensitivity. Drawing from a representative sample of German game players, the results indicate that emotionally sensitive (shy) players are using online gaming spaces differently than their less-shy counterparts and reporting tangible differences in their in-game friendship networks. This suggests that online games hold the potential to be socially advantageous for shy individuals by allowing them to overcome their traditional social difficulties and generate new friendships as well as strengthen old ones.

Examining the Impact of Gaming-Related Friendships on Social Capital among Social Online Game Players (Domahidi & Kowert) – the aim of this paper is to examine the impact of different game-related friendships on players’ perceived social capital among social, online players. The results indicate that gaming-related social contacts have a significant impact on social capital outcomes. Engaging in online game play with pre-existing offline contacts was found to strengthen friendships, particularly in terms of instrumental support. Conversely, playing with online contacts was found to negatively impact instrumental support. Online gaming frequency was not found to significantly impact a player’s perceived social capital, indicating an absence of direct media effects.

If you will be at ICA this year and are interested in one (or all) of these projects, please feel free to stop by, say hello, and ask questions! I would also like to mention that there will be several presentations at ICA this year that will be hosted by the other members of the Muenster research team. A list the other presentations (and their corresponding sections) from our research group are listed below:

  • Carla Schieb: Working identity of games professionals (Organizational Communication)
  • Elisabeth Günther & Thorsten Quandt: Observing the news flow: A big data analysis of online coverage during the 2013 German elections (Journalism Studies)
  • Julia Kneer, Knapp, Malte Elson: Challenged by Rainbows: The Effects of Displayed Violence, Difficulty, and Game-Performance on Arousal, Cognition, Aggressive Behavior, and Emotion (Game Studies)
  • Malte Elson & James Ivory: Who Watches the Watchmen? Evaluation of Peer Reviews in Social Science Journals (Information Systems)
  • Malte Elson, Johannes Breuer, Michael Scharkow, Thorsten Quandt: Digital Games and Frustration: Effects on Aggression and Cooperative Behavior (Game Studies)
  • Malte Elson: Digital Games in Laboratory Experiments: Controlling a Complex Stimulus through Modding (Game Studies)
  • Michael Scharkow, Ruth Fest, Thorsten Quandt: Longitudinal patterns of problematic computer game use among adolescents and adults – a 2-year panel study (Game Studies)
  • Michael Scharkow: The accuracy of self-reported internet use - a validation study using client log data (CAT)
  • Ruth Festl, Michael Scharkow, Thorsten Quandt: The individual or the class: A multilevel analysis of cyberbullying behavior in school context (Children, Adolescents, and the Media)
  • Thorsten Quandt: Big data content analysis in (online) journalism research (Journalism Studies)
  • Thorsten Quandt et al.: Methodological advances in digital content analysis: Inductive and deductive approaches to ‘Big Data’ research in Journalism Studies (Journalism Studies, Panel)