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Video Game Conditioning Spills Over Into Real Life

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the here-we-go-again dept.

Games 232

doug141 writes "Lessons learned in video games may transcend computers, PlayStations and Wiis. New research suggests that virtual worlds sway real-life choices. Twenty-two volunteers who played a cycling game learned to associate one team's jersey with a good flavored drink and another team's jersey with a bad flavored drink. Days later, 3/4 of the subjects avoided the same jersey in a real-world test. Marketers and lawyers will take note."

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232 comments

jersey sponsors (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26641017)

did one jersey say "coke" and the other "pepsi?"

huh (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26641029)

huh

Uhh... huh. (4, Funny)

bistromath007 (1253428) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641033)

I can really only conceive of this as somebody trying to drink a cycling team's jersey that has been stuffed into a glass with the subtitle "PIC UNRELATED"

Re:Uhh... huh. (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 5 years ago | (#26642359)

Here's a product placement approach I hadn't thought of: sell ad space on the side of the most annoying monster in the game, or on the walls of some frustrating, repetitive area. Companies can pay to associate their competition's logo with the parts of your game that suck!

Great, more product placement in future games (1, Flamebait)

RaceProUK (1137575) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641041)

The last thing the videogames industry needs to every game festooned with ads for products the gamers would never buy in the first place.

Re:Great, more product placement in future games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26641081)

The last thing the videogames industry needs to every game festooned with ads for products the gamers would never buy in the first place.

vouch

Re:Great, more product placement in future games (2, Insightful)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641265)

The last thing the videogames industry needs to every game festooned with ads for products the gamers would never buy in the first place.

First you bitch that you want the virtual worlds to be as realistic and lifelike as possible.

Then, you bitch that there are now ads in your virtual world, which of course is nothing like the real world(yes, that is sarcasm you smell)

(Goldmember) This is no pleasing you.

Re:Great, more product placement in future games (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641863)

I think you may be draws a faalse dichotomy.

The first one is probabyl refering to look (tectures) and physics, while the second is advertising.

At least when I say 'real as possible' I am referring to look and behavior of objects.

I don't mind advertising, just as long as it's a natural fit in the game, and not some 10 second cut scene of someone drinking a soft drink.

Of course that won't happen becasue advertiser want to 'grab your eyes' and in order to do that they must stand out. So instead of a racing car with stickers from advertiser you would expect, we will get flashing ads, ads on the car radio, ads when the character watches TV, and so on.

Plus, if game companies want to be advertising companies that gets eys with games, then games should be a hell f a lot cheaper.
Google is an advertising company that get's eyes with a free and simple to use Search engine. A search engine that cost a big ol' pile of cash to run.

Re:Great, more product placement in future games (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641883)

"I think you may be draws a faalse dichotomy."
WTF? it's lie I'm drunk without the pleasure of being drunk.

Sorry about that.
"I think you may be drawing a find of false dichotomy."

Re:Great, more product placement in future games (5, Insightful)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641907)

First you bitch that you want the virtual worlds to be as realistic and lifelike as possible.

Then, you bitch that there are now ads in your virtual world, which of course is nothing like the real world(yes, that is sarcasm you smell)

What? Who wants games to be as "realistic and lifelike as possible?" I want GRAPHICS to be as realistic as possible, the actual content and gameplay can and should take liberties. Example: mirror's edge would be a terrible game if you randomly landed wrong, broke your femur, and had to spend months of real game time doing therapy before you could continue. Rock band would suck if you had to spend hours upon hours practicing, only for the band to break up and the game to be over after one gig. Super mario bros would have sold zero copies if the italian plumbers had to face a clogged toilet rather than saving the princess.

Jesus man, what kind of boring ass games do you play? Games are SUPPOSED to be unrealistic in that they take the boring or annoying (read; ADS) out.

(Note that if you were joking, little too subtle there, and the insightful mod didn't help.)

Re:Great, more product placement in future games (2, Insightful)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26642337)

It really depends. Correct product placement in some games does make the virtual world more immersive. You should hop down to gametrailers and take a look at the new Yakuza game, where when you walk into a supermarket, there are high-rez versions of a number of products (but all within context). The same could be done within Dead Rising without upsetting the gamer. Now I agree, I don't want totally out-of-place adds in my games, but in some contexts, it actually works pretty well. If a game does have to include adds to bolster it's revenue stream and can't gracefully include it in the game world, they should just add it as a footnote in the loading screen. There's little harm in that, as you're already waiting.

Re:Great, more product placement in future games (1)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 5 years ago | (#26642435)

i don't mind coke machines in a game as background, though watching a commercial during a loading screen would be a bit much

Re:Great, more product placement in future games (1)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | more than 5 years ago | (#26642543)

Product placement is done all the time on TV and movies and is rarely noticed. Ever notice that many of the phones you see on the small and big screens are made by Cisco, and they have a logo that's significantly larger than what's on the actual product?

I've seen it go over the top from time to time, though, like when actors actually say things like "Gee whiz, this widget from Acme Corp is awesome!"

I've no issue with ads in games when they are in context. If I'm going to get bored and walk around shooting random cans and bottles they might as well say "Coke" on them.

I remember the uproar around BF2142 when they announced they would have billboards with ads on them. Everyone got upset about it, but in the actual game the billboards fit into the overall feel of the level design, and were never intrusive. It was so subtle that I never noticed what any of the ads were for.

Re:Great, more product placement in future games (1)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 5 years ago | (#26642047)

"First you bitch that you want the virtual worlds to be as realistic and lifelike as possible.

Then, you bitch that there are now ads in your virtual world, which of course is nothing like the real world(yes, that is sarcasm you smell) "

Only up to a certain point.

If I play Call of Duty and I get killed I don't want the program to close and uninstall itself(to mimic real life). No ads is a "sacrifice" I will gladly make.

Re:Great, more product placement in future games (4, Funny)

youngdev (1238812) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641269)

I disagree. I think it would be cool to quest for the great Coca Cola of the mythical Eastern elves in war craft. Maybe the new armor in the next expansion will be branded by Nike. Then they could release real live limited edition collector versions of in game products. I see this being something you game nerds could really dig on.

Re:Great, more product placement in future games (2, Funny)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641415)

I think Under Armor would be a better tie in than Nike......

Re:Great, more product placement in future games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26641783)

Armor All, for your warcraft mount.

Re:Great, more product placement in future games (1)

thervey (1216980) | more than 5 years ago | (#26642211)

Maybe the new armor in the next expansion will be branded by Nike. ... I see this being something you game nerds could really dig on.

Hmm... For some reason I don't get the feeling that a union of Nike (an athletics company) and video game playing nerds is likely to be a hot marketing synergy. ;)

Re:Great, more product placement in future games (2, Funny)

aeskdar (1136689) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641447)

The last thing the videogames industry needs to every game festooned with ads for condoms the gamers would never use in the first place.

fixed that for you

Re:Great, more product placement in future games (2, Insightful)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641787)

The last thing the videogames industry needs to every game festooned with ads for products the gamers would never buy in the first place.

I know, I'm never going to buy "bad flavored drink" no matter how many jerseys I see it on.

Weird Assumptions (5, Insightful)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641127)

It seems very strange to suppose that intentionally creating an association between visual and taste stimuli would magically not work, just because a video game is involved.

I mean, people have been learning things on television screens for decades. And projection screens for decades before that. What on Earth is surprising, or even interesting, about showing that putting a game controller in a person's hand doesn't thwart this method of learning?

-Peter

Re:Weird Assumptions (4, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641645)

I think the assumption here is that the gamer will identify with the product if it is associated with his 'team' in the game. Having the same advertising for two products, one associated with your team and another associated with the enemy makes you want the one associated with the 'good guys' more. Essentially, they're saying that connecting your product with the enemy will actually weaken its percieved value.

I suspect the army already knew this (or at least suspected it, since it is pretty logical). Look at the America's Army game they put out and you see a good example. No matter which side you are on, you are always drawn as a US soldier and the enemy is always drawn as a terrorist, even if you switch sides in the middle of a fight.

Re:Weird Assumptions (1)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641847)

I on the other hand, tend to like the winning team. When I was little, I remember playing a Checkers Video game where you were always red and the enemy was always black. Well... at the time, I sucked at Checkers and black always won. I thought they had some kind of advantage... that black was intrinsically better.

If every time you play America's Army, your enemies (terrorists) win... you might start wishing you could play as the Terrorists so that you might start winning more.

Re:Weird Assumptions (2, Insightful)

Ioldanach (88584) | more than 5 years ago | (#26642233)

Look at the America's Army game they put out and you see a good example. No matter which side you are on, you are always drawn as a US soldier and the enemy is always drawn as a terrorist, even if you switch sides in the middle of a fight.

Which seems pretty accurate to me, when you switch sides, you're probably going to perceive your new side well and the other side as terrorists.

Re:Weird Assumptions (1)

sarahbau (692647) | more than 5 years ago | (#26642357)

Did they weaken its perceived value by connecting it to the enemy or making it salty tea? If they switched the drinks and made it so you got a shot of salty tea when your team mates passed you, and a shot of juice when an "enemy" passed you, would they have had the same results?

Did people choose the seats with the towels associated with their team because the juice tasted better, or because it was their team? Also, I'm not a statistics expert, but is 3/4 of such a small sample size even statistically significant?

Re:Weird Assumptions (1)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 5 years ago | (#26642599)

I think the assumption here is that the gamer will identify with the product if it is associated with his 'team' in the game. Having the same advertising for two products, one associated with your team and another associated with the enemy makes you want the one associated with the 'good guys' more.

And this, folks, is perhaps the single best explanation of what's wrong with two-party politics. Listen closely to *any* political commentary in the USA, and you'll see this effect at work. Arguments become talking points about positioning sides rather than the merits of the arguments.

It's just sick.

Re:Weird Assumptions (4, Insightful)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641647)

What they really need to do is see if people can learn things done -entirely- within Video Games.

Like what if in a Pepsi/Coke video game, Coke gives you Health and Pepsi hurts you... would these people start preferring Coke over Pepsi? Or maybe there would be some reverse psychology where since people -can't- have Pepsi in the game world, they will intrinsically want it more in the real world.

The mind is complicated, but I'm sure that, yes, connections are formed when playing video games just as they are anywhere else.

Re:Weird Assumptions (1)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641679)

I think that would be too obvious. If I wanted to do Coke marketing in a game, I'd make Pepsi restore health, but Coke restore more. Of course, people tend to be easier to manipulate that I think, so yours would probably work too..

Re:Weird Assumptions (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641905)

It wouldn't have to be nearly so obvious (not to mention I'm sure Pepsi would object to this). It could be as subtle as having a Coke advert right next to your team's bench in an NFL game.

Re:Weird Assumptions (1)

Rutefoot (1338385) | more than 5 years ago | (#26642141)

All this talk about soft drinks has me craving a nice, ice-cold Sprunk.

Re:Weird Assumptions (2, Interesting)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26642189)

Yeah, and if they'd sold that ad space instead of making up a fictitious product you might be craving a Red Bull instead. ;)

Video Game is just the vehicle (4, Insightful)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641143)

This has nothing to do with "lessons learned from video games" and says everything about the power of marketing.

Re:Video Game is just the vehicle (4, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641407)

This has nothing to do with "lessons learned from video games" and says everything about the power of marketing.

"Every time a dog salivates, a behaviorist must ring a bell"

Re:Video Game is just the vehicle (0, Flamebait)

Corpuscavernosa (996139) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641871)

What is says to me is that this is just more evidence that if you play videogames you will shoot up a school. :)

Forcible taste-association marketing (1)

jwietelmann (1220240) | more than 5 years ago | (#26642197)

It doesn't even say anything about marketing until they can figure out a way to forcibly deliver good/bad-flavored beverages to your mouth.

Imagine it now. Coke buys ads in a video game. You're playing, and every time you see the Coke logo, it forces some Coke into your mouth. Then you play a little more and the Pepsi logo shows up. It forces vinegar into your mouth. Happy gaming!

Or you're playing, and every time you see the label for Old Milwaukee, it delivers Old Milwaukee to your mouth. Then you go out into the world and see the logo and... well, perhaps Old Milwaukee's marketing team should steer clear of this.

Re:Video Game is just the vehicle (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#26642429)

This has nothing to do with "lessons learned from video games" and says everything about the power of conditioning.

FTFY.

Also, this is nothing new. As another poster has pointed out, the result says "Conditioning works. Stick a game controller in someone's hands. Conditioning still works."

A former girlfriend of mine was studying Marketing Economy, and I peeked in her textbooks. They had the law of effect (essentially "conditioning works") stated in them. I don't know in how much detail they explained it, though.

Unless you can explain to me what they marketing part of the study is, I'll prefer to say the conclusion as "conditioning works, marketing uses conditioning because conditioning works".

Re:Video Game is just the vehicle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26642575)

I'm disappointed. I've learned and/or improved a number of skills by playing video games almost to the point where my relatives think it's "spooky":

* My hand/eye coordination and reflexes, particularly when driving, are very good;

* I'm exceptionally good at pathfinding, i.e. finding my way through confusing surroundings without getting lost. I'm so used to keeping a 3-D mental map of my surroundings (from playing games like Doom 3 and Jericho) that it's second nature now. When I'm visiting family and we leave the mall, my folks will ask me "where's the car" and I can often tell them not only the direction but the range in meters. But I can do this no matter where in the mall we are.

* I find I'm good at juggling multiple tasks, given multiple items to manipulate, and keeping mental lists of different things I need to do -- this comes directly from having to juggle various missions in games like Fallout 3.

* Oddly enough, my ability to debug software, operating system issues, and problems with physical devices has improved by leaps and bounds because most of the games I play have a strong empirical experiment aspect to them. When you're trying to beat a Silent Hill boss, for example, it's natural to carry out experiments, note results, and form hypotheses. "What if I use the big axe with short thrusts?" (Die) "What if I use the crowbar with short thrusts, then dodge and counter with a strong thrust?" (Die, but not so quickly) "Ok, what if I run counter clockwise, use the crowbar, short thrusts, and roll to evade?" (Survive).

I'm pretty disappointed nobody's done any research on this sort of thing. Of course, it doesn't seem as though anybody wants to be seen supporting video games, so perhaps "research" has become another word for "propaganda" and it's all gone down the tubes...

Meh.

not surprising (4, Insightful)

jm4 (1137329) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641153)

The shouldn't come as any surprise. Computer simulations are routinely used for training and conditioning in a variety of situations from flight training to military applications.

Re:not surprising (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641625)

Agreed, that was my first thought too. Isn't this exactly *the point* of simulations? to condition us to respond to certain stimuli without having to say be shot down or have both engines quit taking off from NY?

Re:not surprising (2, Interesting)

pelrun (25021) | more than 5 years ago | (#26642471)

I lost control of my car once in wet conditions, and instinctively steered into the skid, safely regaining control before I had an accident. I never learned that behind the wheel, I learned it from countless racing games over the years, none of which I played with a wheel :)

So yes, I pretty much already took this finding as fact. :D

Blindingly obvious? (2, Interesting)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641207)

Of course we're affected by all media around us. Be it games, movies, advertising, written, spoken, everything. Our brains are wired to pick up as much information as possible in order to make wiser choices.

But behavioral preference and turning people into something is not the same thing. I personally think violent movies are just as bad/harmless as violent games. But surely the think-of-the-children zealots will keep doing their thing, just like they always have...

Sample Size? (5, Insightful)

ChinggisK (1133009) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641215)

Twenty-two volunteers who played a cycling game

Good to see they're using a nice large group of test subjects.

Re:Sample Size? (4, Funny)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641445)

That's all of the people that would actually PLAY a cycling game. Now, if you mounted lasers on the handlebars......

Re:Sample Size? (2, Insightful)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641751)

I also would wager it closely resembles the attendence count of the psych 101 class taught by the person running the experiment.

Statistics are valid anyways, right? (3, Insightful)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#26642137)

<sarcasm>Good to see they're using a nice large group of test subjects.</sarcasm>

The article is here: http://www.jneurosci.org/cgi/reprint/29/4/1046.pdf [jneurosci.org]

Could you please point to which of their inferences you think breaks down because of statistical problems caused by the sample size?

If no such problem exists, the sample size was fine.

I recall reading a set of guidelines for writing psych papers (discussing and critiquing an article). They said quite explicitly that complaining about sample size was about the cheapest shot available, so don't do it unless you can really back it up.

To the mods who think my parent is insightful: could you please spell out to me what the insight is? Because I haven't seen any problems with the sample size, only an unsubstantiated claim.

Re:Statistics are valid anyways, right? (1)

Missing_dc (1074809) | more than 5 years ago | (#26642209)

Funny, I read this and thought:

"His inability to substantiate the claim may be due to the sample size."

which made your gripe sound like defensive whining to me

I'm just sayin, ya know?

Re:Statistics are valid anyways, right? (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 5 years ago | (#26642491)

I'm just sayin, ya know?

What you're saying is that you don't want to be bothered to (a) read the article and (b) calculate for yourself whether or not the sample size is large enough to determine significance of the claimed effect, so you're going to go with your gut feeling rather than crunching the numbers. And then tell people who point this out that they're just "defensive whiners." Classy.

Re:Statistics are valid anyways, right? (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#26642515)

"His inability to substantiate the claim may be due to the sample size."

Huh? His (parent(n)s) inability to substantiate the (implicit) claim that the sample size was too small may be due to the sample size?

That is, the sample size is just fine (like I suggested it might be)? And then you say that my post is a defensive whine?

*headsplode*

Re:Statistics are valid anyways, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26642223)

Yeah, the rare individuals who actually play bicycling games are morons and thus more likely to be influenced by this conditioning... :p

Re:Statistics are valid anyways, right? (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 5 years ago | (#26642579)

To the mods who think my parent is insightful: could you please spell out to me what the insight is?

The "insight" exists in the minds of people who don't want to put forth the intellectual effort to understand sample size and power calculations, and who find the misuse of statistical jargon convenient to dismiss study results that make them uncomfortable. The authors could have used just about any sample size and we'd still see the same comment ... unless it was so large that nobody could reasonably quibble on that point, in which case the wilfully ignorant would fall back on "correlation is not causation," of course.

misleading (4, Informative)

danlip (737336) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641221)

Even though they were playing a video game they were being given real-life swigs of a drink while they played. So what the subjects were actually doing was building an association between a real-life experience and an image on the screen - which is completely different from building an association from nothing but a video game.

Re:misleading (2, Insightful)

Reziac (43301) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641475)

How is this different from going to a live game and drinking a certain brand of beer while you're in the stadium??

As others have pointed out, the world is full of stuff we associate that way. Video games are hardly unique.

Re:misleading (1)

psychicninja (1150351) | more than 5 years ago | (#26642401)

How is this different from going to a live game and drinking a certain brand of beer while you're in the stadium??

I don't know, but I'd like to sign up to participate in your study.

Re:misleading (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641747)

Even though they were playing a video game they were being given real-life swigs of a drink while they played. So what the subjects were actually doing was building an association between a real-life experience and an image on the screen - which is completely different from building an association from nothing but a video game.

Precisely my take on this. The survey was a major fail... the researchers were artificially creating a linkage between the virtual and real worlds. It doesn't follow that a video game which doesn't directly affect the real world will create a similar linkage.

Here's an idea for a much better study: Make a team-based, highly competitive game (e.g. first person shooter). For the follow-up, once they're hooked up to the brain monitor, have someone wearing either the friendly or opposing team's uniform unexpectedly enter the room – to ensure an element of surprise, each subject should be exposed to either the friendly or opposing uniform, not both. Then, compare the brain activity of the test subjects who had a "teammate" enter the room with the ones who had an "opponent" enter. This could have real-life implications: e.g. selling advertising space on the uniform of "teammates" in a virtual game could subconsciously create a favorable opinion of that product. If all your teammates in NBA Live 2012 are wearing Reebok shoes and the teams you play against have generic, unbranded ones...

Re:misleading (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641803)

FWIW, I should probably mention that this idea was partially inspired by the America's Army video game: irregardless of the team a player chooses to join, his or her teammates are skinned in U.S. uniforms and carry U.S.-issued weapons; opponents wear contrasting uniforms and carry AKs, RPKs, and such.

Re:misleading (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26642307)

good point, though your use of "irregardless" somehow make it seem less valid....

Re:misleading (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#26642271)

Yes, they were given real sips of drinks.

So what? That's just a way to tap into a basic reward system.

If you play a game and the reward is the "you win" screen in the game, the reward is still rewarding.

The important part in conditioning is that a particular stimulus is followed by a reward.

Re:misleading (1)

danlip (737336) | more than 5 years ago | (#26642431)

Yes, a real life award leads to real life associations.
A virtual award (the "you win" screen) leads to virtual associations - it COULD potentially lead to real life associations, BUT there is nothing in this research that indicates that it actually does. And yet the article claims it does. Therefore it is misleading, and bad science.

news flash (1)

Missing_dc (1074809) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641227)

News Flash:

Stimuli we are exposed to repeatedly causes automatic responses, research lead by Pavlov and his salivating dogs, more at 11.

How should we expect video games to be any different?

Most people have trouble distinguishing fantasty from real life until they are in their early teens, and most gaming geeks never really grow up.

xbox? (1)

ethorad (840881) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641237)

Lessons learned in video games may transcend computers, PlayStations and Wiis.

Phew! I'm safe with my xBox360 then?

Re:xbox? (1)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641831)

More importantly we have proof that PC gaming is NOT dead. Hear that /., PC gaming is not dead. //end flamebait

Good god no! (1)

popmaker (570147) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641267)

No more of this marketing research bullshit. Haven't you guys done enough? Can I at least play my video games without being bombarded by more stupid ads and product placements?

Re:Good god no! (1)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641525)

No. By the way here's an expansion pack containing the other half of the game you bought, only 20 dollars!

Re:Good god no! -- oh yes, YES, YESSS! (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641939)

TV and the internet are merging very rapidly. Games and advertising will inevitably merge in that combined format. The advertising will be crude at first (like it was at the dawn of TV and radio), but it will become more and more refined with time. The targeting will become way more refined than TV or radio has become because the consumer will be interactively providing the advertiser(s) with huge amounts of data regarding the effectiveness of the advertising.

These games have the potential to be very seductive. They won't cost money because you'll be paying by providing the advertiser with rich marketing data about yourself. You'll be interacting with many others in an engaging environments, because marketing companies will be competing to create the most engaging environments.

It will be oh so much fun. The political parties will just HAVE to get involved in this rich gold mine of data collection. They'll probe for all your hot and cold buttons in a very sophisticated fashion. Then, the politicians will parrot it all back to you.

Sometimes the future doesn't seem so grand.

Re:Good god no! -- oh yes, YES, YESSS! (1)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 5 years ago | (#26642253)

Where have you been? Ads posing as video games are nearly 30 years old [dvdfile.com].

As for the political stuff, I don't think it's gonna happen. There are a lot better ways to conduct opinion polls than through a game, which has to be ENTERTAINING first and foremost or it will be raked over the coals.

And in most cases, ads aren't the game itself anyway (the linked above is an exception). Usually, they're just branding tacked onto another game. Fender Guitars sponsors Rock Band, so your character can play virtual representations of actual Fender guitars. Snowboarding companies sponsor SSX Tricky and the like. It's not that obtrusive and actually adds to realism if it's done right.

Why "Marketers and lawyers will take note" ? (2, Interesting)

aepervius (535155) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641297)

I mean, should we not say "parent take notes?", when we here on slashdot keep saying people to pay attention to what kid plays ? Or even why not buyer-beware or "everybody should pay attention" or whatever ? Why the immediate jump to marketing (consumerism) and lawyer (sue-happy) ? Or could you at least add an emoticon if you were sarcastic ?

No surprise here. (1)

Edgewize (262271) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641301)

Surely everyone who plays video games has had at least one "Tetris effect" moment in his or her life, where you see something in the real world and think about how to solve it according to the rules of the last game you were playing.

Maybe you played a stunt-based car-racing game and later thought about how sweet a jump would be if you drove your car up a ramp. Or maybe you played an adventure/puzzle game and then looked around a room and wondered if certain items were "important".

It's impossible to claim that that video games are perfectly compartmentalized in the human brain and do not transfer any weight into real-world decision making.

That's still a long way from saying that video games desensitize people, or that violent games promote real-world violence. But the brain definitely connects things that it learns inside a video game to other situations in the real world. That should not be a shock to anyone.

Re:No surprise here. (1)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641587)

Surely everyone who plays video games has had at least one "Tetris effect" moment in his or her life

No I do not, and don't call me Shirley.

(Alright, alright, I admit...after playing Burnout 3 for a long period of time, I found myself wondering if my commute to work would be more fun if I could slam the other vehicles into the wall.)

Re:No surprise here. (1)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641651)

But the brain definitely connects things that it learns inside a video game to other situations in the real world.

You would be surprised how useful GTA3 has been...

Re:No surprise here. (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641929)

I don't know that I can speak for anyone else, but I find the "Tetris Effect" to be an invaluable tool when it comes to packing the luggage into the van for a family vacation.

I'm only somewhat kidding.

whatever... (1)

thebigbadme (194140) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641339)

after RTFA i realized that this is nothing new, or exciting ... essentially all the video game is doing is being a medium for delivery of the visual part of the information. you could do the same thing with flash cards.

a better study would be linking in game rewards for in game stimuli to to real life responses to similar real life stimuli

World of Warcraft (1)

CFBMoo1 (157453) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641363)

Right.. so now every time I see someone with their jaw hanging to the floor I know they play a Horde druid. Anyone have a spare thing of polygrip?

Re:World of Warcraft (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641535)

No, but when you start to like purple clothing because it's for some odd reason cooler and worth wasting hours of your spare time to find it, then it starts being a wee bit off the edge.

I know what you mean (1)

Quadropleen+ (79170) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641431)

For years, I've been plagued with the overwhelming desire to run motorcycles off of the road a la "Spy Hunter."

No kidding! (1)

peacefinder (469349) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641463)

For years after playing Doom a lot* the sound of a chainsaw starting up would make me flinch a little.

[*: Too much, apparently.]

GTA (5, Informative)

damonlab (931917) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641489)

Grand Theft Auto taught me that if you shoot the hooker, you can get your money back.

Re:GTA (3, Interesting)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641829)

Well, I don't think I've ever done that in GTA. As a matter of fact, I pretty much try not to hurt anybody in that game unless the progress in the game demands it, such as a rampage forcing you to kill gang members and so forth.
I HAVE learned stuff from games like Gran Turismo. I now find myself finding and driving the perfect line for a corner, even though I am not racing but driving within the speed limit. Of course, unlike in Gran Turismo, if there are lanes on the road, I won't go out of my lane to make the perfect turn. Although in real life, unlike in Gran Turismo, other cars would probably give up their lane if they saw you coming. In Gran Turismo, opponent cars absolutely WILL NOT BUDGE from the perfect line.

Re:GTA (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26642027)

Of course, unlike in Gran Turismo, if there are lanes on the road, I won't go out of my lane to make the perfect turn.

If there's no other traffic, I sometimes will... ;)

Re:GTA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26642347)

and as it happens this is also true in real life.

And on the other hand... (5, Interesting)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641561)

On the other hand, my eye-hand coordination often amazes people. And my locational/directional skills are quite good as well. None of the rest of my family can claim either of those.

In addition, I've learned quite a bit about history, politics, art, language... You name it.

So yeah, experiencing things makes you learn from them. No big surprise there. But don't go forgetting that learning can be both good and bad.

"Entirely un-video-game-like conditioning"? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641727)

Seriously, if you give someone a glass of shit water every time they see a red jersey in a game, or hear a C chord in a piece of music, or read the world "salubrious", they're going to build up a negative response to that. It doesn't say anything about how games, music, or text condition people.

not what I thought the article would be about (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641777)

I find that any level of intensive focus on something will eventually bleed over into times when you are not working on it so you still think of it. I know when I studied intensely for tests I would see the formulae every time I closed my eyes to go to sleep for a week after. I drove past a fire station at night and saw the red warning light reflecting against the beige garage doors, strobing on and off, red and then shadowed. "Good light sourcing model," I said to a friend. He agreed and it took us both a minute to realize we'd been playing way too many video games.

When you talk about conditioning for reflexive behavior, that's what you do when you train for any kind of fighting system. You sense a situation and react to it without conscious thought. The army spent big bucks figuring out how to work this kind of conditioning into basic training so that recruits would instinctively shoot at people in battle rather than stopping to second-guess and get shot themselves.

This sort of conditioning is just a part of human nature and video games are just another way of conditioning people, more advanced than long sessions of chanting and ritual but serving the same purpose.

How Much Conditioning? (1)

PineHall (206441) | more than 5 years ago | (#26642587)

You and many others are talking about conditioning. How then do violent video games, like GTA, condition the players? I think it is safe to say that the end result is not making people into murderers. But I believe there must be some conditioning effect. Maybe players end up less respectful of life and others, or also in the case of GTA less respectful of the law and authority. How big is the conditioning effect from violent video games?

!news (1)

jrothwell97 (968062) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641799)

Subconscious tuning is a known phenomenon and has been known about for ages. The fact it's in a video game proves nothing: the same can happen depending on the TV programme a person is watching, the posters on the walls, or the music they're listening to.

Towel placement (1)

Kaptain Kruton (854928) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641909)

The article says subjects took the towel with the insignia of the team associate with the juice more often than the subjects took the towel with the insignia associated with the bad tasting tea. What order were the towels placed in when presented to the subjects? When two things are directly in front of me, I usually take the item on the right because I am right handed. If both objects are to my right (but still in front), I will often take the one of the left because it is closest. Did the researchers always place the towel associated with the juice on the right side while placing the towels directly in front of the subject, or did they change the order 50% of the time while placing the towels directly in front of the subject? Or, were the towels off to one side or the other in relation to the subject? The article does not give much information in relation to this, but these things could effect which towel is taken more than a subconscious impulse. I am also curious as to what towel would have been grabbed if the subjects were presented with a towel associated with the juice and a 'neutral towel' with an insignia unassociated with a the juice or bad tea. What towel would be grabbed when presented with the towel associated with the bad tea and a 'neutral towel'? However, I will say that the brain activity in the part of the brain that handles bad taste perception when shown the insignia associated with the bad tea is somewhat interesting. However, I don't really find it any more significant than a bell making Pavlov's dogs to salivate. Also, the article didn't mention anything related to the opposite. What was the brain's response to the insignia associated with the juice? The findings are somewhat interesting, but the article does not really present anything unexpected. Conditioning doesn't have to be blatantly obvious (ie: showing the subject a large card with a picture followed immediately by a very significant event) to occur. Pavlov decided to start experimenting with conditioning because he noticed his dogs had 'psychic salivation.' This salivation occurred because they consistently heard a sound (such as the door opening) as the person that fed them entered the room. This is no more obvious than being shown an event in a game and then drinking a good juice or a bad tea. My 1/50 of a dollar.

Half-life 2 (4, Funny)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 5 years ago | (#26642061)

I remember after HL2 first came out and I'd been playing it a lot. I was walking through my parking lot at work, a helicopter flew nearby. I found myself unconsciously looking for places to hide and estimating when I could get a good firing angle on it.

Re:Half-life 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26642655)

Yes indeed. Back in the day, I experienced a fear of CCTV cameras after playing an excessive amount of Goldeneye.

It's how it affects you, not if (4, Insightful)

Temujin_12 (832986) | more than 5 years ago | (#26642085)

I'm tired of the "X/Y/Z doesn't affect me" mantra. Everything affects you.

Does reading slashdot 12 times a day affect you? Yes.

Would reading the entire constitution of the US everyday affect you? Yes.

Does skipping a night of sleep affect you? Yes.

Does holding down a full time job affect you? Yes.

Does playing video games affect you? Yes.

Everything you engage in affects you. It's called being human. It's not a question of whether something affects you, it's a question of whether you are mature enough to recognise HOW it effects you and make appropriate adjustments if necessary.

The insistence that you are somehow superior to every aspect of life and can only be affected if you allow it is just immature arrogance.

wii fit had an immediate real-world impact (1)

mrcdeckard (810717) | more than 5 years ago | (#26642093)

i know this isn't quite what the article is getting at, but i found myself conscious of my stance and walking after the first time playing with the wii fit. may not seem like much to many of you, but i was immediately struck at how a seemingly simple piece of technology can have leave a real and lasting impression.

everything about the wii is just clever from an engineering/programming standpoint. it might not seem like it now, but i bet in 10 years, the wii will be cited as one of the great advancements in VR -- mainly because i think it will get us thinking differently about VR than the "lawnmower man" mentality.

of course, the other game is GTAIV, because of it's great simulation. although i do think it's a step backward form san andreas -- what i think would be a great thing to happen is for more cross-pollination in vide games -- eg, GTA has a great city/driving/shooting simulation, but not much else, really. "skate" has a great skateboarding simulation -- civilization has great AI, etc. if producers licensed their core engines, and made them modular, you could buy add-ons. eg, if you wanted skateboarding in GTA, you could buy the "skate" add-on.

ok, enough conjecture, more coffee. . .

mr c

Definitely true! (1)

cyn1c77 (928549) | more than 5 years ago | (#26642289)

I believe it!

Doom taught me that when an imp throws a fireball at your face, you need to dodge the fireball and then kill the imp or it will keep attacking.

Diving out of your chair still results in your character getting hit with the fireball.

Tricky imps.

This has happened to me (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 5 years ago | (#26642443)

1) Someone turned on a buzz-saw outside, and I immediately hunched down and felt a fear of something dangerous above me. I realized after a moment that the sound was reminiscent of the flying buzz-cutting robots in Half Life 2.

2) I started a job at a BioScience company, and there is an area with a whole bunch of machines that make a humming sound, like a refrigerator running. One day one of the fluorescent lights on the walls was flickering on and off and I immediately felt that foreboding caution like walking into a new room in Doom 3. The humming is very much like the machinery in that game, and the flickering light took it to the next level. Now, every time I walk by there, I hear the narrator saying "The molecular fuel storage compactor..." and I imagine a Cacodemon coming around the corner. (It makes me like my job a bit more...)

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