Immersed in virtual worlds: The benefits of storytelling in video games

first_imgTo test the role of in-game storytelling, the researchers randomly assigned participants to play one of two video games. In the first game Gone Home, the player slips into the role of a female American college student, arriving home after a year abroad. The player comes upon an empty house and has to use various clues to figure out what happened to her missing family members. For the control condition, the game was Against the Wall, in which the player has to climb up an infinite wall by interacting with the bricks, in surreal but human-made surroundings. Apart from a brief description of the environment and goals, the game provided no narrative elements.For the game rich in storytelling (Gone Home), researchers provided one group of participants the game developers’ instructions and provided a second group of participants instructions to register, memorize, and evaluate various properties of the game. After 20 minutes of gameplay, all participants completed a task in which they assessed facially expressed emotions. The researchers used this task to evaluate the players’ capacity to apprehend others emotional states (theory of mind). The players also completed a survey to assess the amount of immersion and need satisfaction they experienced while playing.As published today in Social Psychological and Personality Science, the researchers found that narrative game elements contributed to a more immersive video game experience. They also found that being immersed in a game’s story supports players in perceiving opportunities for meaningful choices and relationships. And they found that the narrative elements affected theory of mind.“Although the effects regarding theory of mind were relatively small, we were excited to see initial evidence for the short-term enhancement through in-game storytelling,” Bormann says. “Importantly, this effect was specific to the condition in which participants actively engaged in the games narration, while the mere exposure to the narrative video game did not affect theory of mind, in comparison to playing a neutral video game.”Together, the results suggest that in-game storytelling contributes to a more immersive and satisfying video game experience while also fostering skills that are useful to players on a day-to-day basis. While more work needs to be done to examine these effects, Bormann says that long-term work on narration in video games could yield promising opportunities.“If further research could reveal how exactly in-game storytelling affects theory of mind,” he says, “clinicians and software developers could utilize this knowledge to develop tools to aid the treatment of disorders characterized by social-interaction impairments, like autistic disorders.” Share on Facebook A wealth of studies have shown that violent video games contribute to antisocial and aggressive behavior. But what makes those games appealing in the first place? One possibility is that storytelling plays a role, particularly if it lets players engage in meaningful choices. A new study suggests that non-violent video games that capitalize on such storytelling have prosocial benefits that could ultimately be helpful to clinical disorders such as autism.“The motivation to engage in and enjoy video games corresponds with principals that apply to human motivation in general,” says Daniel Bormann of the University of Freiburg. “For instance, successful game franchises offer players a spectrum of meaningful choices to shape the game’s narrative and environment, provide carefully balanced challenges, or encourage players to experience social connectedness and meaningful social interactions.” Research has suggested that the satisfaction of those needs results not only greater motivation to play but also enhanced well-being and a more immersive experience.Bormann and his colleague Tobias Greitemeyer wanted to explore this concept further, to see whether storytelling fosters immersion and changes how players are able to assess the mental states of others (called “theory of mind”). Immersion, Bormann says, “is characterized by an experience you might have enjoyed while watching your favorite movie for the first time – the sensation of being transported to another time or space, as though you are taking a real journey, or the feeling of being emotionally impacted by the protagonist’s fate.” Pinterest Share on Twittercenter_img Email Share LinkedInlast_img read more

Air Products provides hydrogen supply shortage update

first_imgGet instant access to must-read content today!To access hundreds of features, subscribe today! At a time when the world is forced to go digital more than ever before just to stay connected, discover the in-depth content our subscribers receive every month by subscribing to gasworld.Don’t just stay connected, stay at the forefront – join gasworld and become a subscriber to access all of our must-read content online from just $270. Subscribelast_img

Alstom to convert regional coaches

first_imgSNCF has awarded Alstom a €37m contract to refurbish 48 Corail B6Du regional coaches, with options worth about €18m for a further 30 vehicles.The coaches currently operate in loco-hauled rakes of four to eight cars, and will be converted into driving vehicles for push-pull operation. Crashworthiness improvements will permit an increase in the maximum speed to 200 km/h.The conversion work will be carried out at Alstom’s Reichshoffen plant, with cab equipment coming from Tarbes and controls from St Ouen. SNCF’s Romilly workshops will refit the passenger areas. Each coach will have six second-class compartments, luggage and bicycle space, a disabled-accessible toilet and a drinks vending machine.The first two driving cars are due to be rolled out in October, and the refurbished trains will return to service in 2006-08 for use in Alsace, Rhlast_img read more

Woman jailed over 15 counts of qualified theft

first_imgShe was detained in the lockup cell of the municipal police station. ILOILO City – Police nabbed a woman charged with 15 counts of qualified theft on Santiago Street, Barangay 5, San Miguel, Iloilo. Buid – tagged as the No. 1 most wanted person in the San Miguel police station – was caught on the strength of an arrest warrant around 5:45 p.m. on Aug. 26, it added. She was 41-year-old resident Shella Buid, a police report showed. The court recommended a P440,000 bail bond for Buid’s temporary liberty./PNlast_img

Taxing the population

first_imgThe Government is perhaps in the final stages of preparation of Budget 2018, and as expected, citizens and businesses are eager to find out “what’s in it” for them. For example, would it contribute in any way to them having more disposable income to cushion the effects of rising prices? Would it put an ease on the heavy tax burden which currently obtains? Or, in a general sense, would it serve to contribute to the so-called better life, which the APNU/AFC had promised during the 2015 Elections campaign?If one were to go by the last two budgets, there would not be much optimism, as it could be recalled that there were many more negatives than positives for the populace, with both citizens and businesses still finding it very difficult to cope. In fact, there were many proposals in the last budget which militate against society. For example, putting VAT on electricity and water supplies placed additional hardships on poor families. While it may indeed not affect very small families directly, it certainly affects them indirectly, since the businesses from which they purchase will be forced to increase their prices to cover the increased costs.Also, in the last two budgets, there was hardly any provision included that was aimed at stimulating the positive generation of wealth. Areas of wealth-generation were completely neglected or forgotten. For example, agriculture, both small-scale garden farmers and producers of cash crops, as well as the national, economically important sugar and rice industries were literally ignored. It was only recently that a small market for rice was secured. As we have seen over the past year, to diminish or not to stimulate these industries results in unemployment, less money in circulation, and the lessening of a source of foreign exchange.As we had stated before, the makers of governmental policies in respect to agriculture are literally shooting themselves in the foot, and one could only hope that they would awake from their slumber.In other areas of wealth-generation for society, especially mining and commerce, the same trend has occurred.Further, one of the greatest disincentives to wealth generation is massive taxation. This is a fact well known in all societies, irrespective of the political doctrine they follow. In the 2017 Budget, there were dozens of new taxes imposed, and citizens are feeling the squeeze. The Government cannot reasonably expect to fund its operations via revenues from taxes alone; it must focus on stimulating growth and creating the environment for new investments etc.It is of no surprise that, at the recent Business Summit, the Government’s approach to taxation came under heavy scrutiny, with many of the stakeholders calling for a complete review. Of note, too, is that, during the discussions, it was pointed out that most of the measures that had been recommended by the Tax Reform Committee — aimed at ensuring persons have more disposal income and supporting local businesses etc — remain unimplemented.In addition to tax incentives, the committee had recommended the Administration increase the Value-Added Tax registration threshold from G million to G million; reduce the standard rate to 14 per cent; and introduce an intermediate rate of 7 per cent for some types of goods. Increasing the threshold for businesses would mean that, in addition to the reduced tax charged, businesses with a turnover of less than G million would not have to fall into the accounting regime.The Committee had also recommended that education services be exempted from taxation; and 21 items of education materials, including all textbooks, children’s books, dictionaries, pencils, lunch kits and charts, continue to be zero-rated; while others, including recipe books, instructional newsletters and music manuscripts, be charged at an intermediate rate of 7%.These are just a few of the issues which the Government must consider in preparation of Budget 2018. The general feeling is that Government’s tax-oriented approach to growth and policies is among the key factors responsible for the deteriorating economy. If Government is really serious about national development and creating the ‘good life’ for all Guyanese, it must urgently change its policies in relation to the unfriendly, burdensome tax regime, and put systems in place to stimulate real economic growth. In this regard, the 2018 Budget will serve as another test for the Administration.last_img read more