Risk-Taking Case Study

There is a very popular term nowadays – “echo generation” – a generation of young people, between 2 and 27, who are the first to grow up with computers and the Internet. In fact, the interactive computer and video games that are based on the digital computer technology are one of the most important peculiarities of the “new” advanced generation. Some people nowadays use video games, to transport them away from the real world that oppresses, discriminates upsets them. By doing that they create a fantasy world in which they can forget their problems and pressures. What is different about this leisure activity of the 21st century is that when people watched or read, everything they got involved with was happening in their imagination. However, video games players are actively involved in the game, involved to the extent that they simply make the game a part of their real life.

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There can be no doubt that today the world is advancing at a rapid pace, especially when it comes to technological development. There is also no doubt that the information technology has made the world different: both in a positive and negative way. The computer and video game industry is a growing multi-million dollar industry, which, as predicted, may become larger than Hollywood empire. It is poised for even much growth as it spread into almost all areas of our lives. In the last five years video games have attracted much attention, they were criticized, studied, there were a lot of researches and surveys carried out. But what was that attracted that much attention to them?

The reason why the video games attracted attention was that it had been noticed that playing video games effects people greatly. So the researchers decided to find out whether games have had negative effects on the children, or whether society has overreacted. There are still a lot of different opinions on the influence of the video games, however, there is no denying the fact that this influence does exist. In my case study, I would like to take a closer look at the research conducted by German scientists Peter Fischer, Stephanie Guter and from Dieter Frey Ludwig-Maximilians University and Jorg Kubitzki from Allianz Center for Technology.

I chose my paper to dwell upon the research of the mentioned scientists because it was rather different from the other ones being carried. Most researches on the impact of video games on psychological responses are conducted in the shooter genre. This genre allows video game players to walk through real-life situations and kill monsters and other people. An, of course, most of those researches proved that the playing of aggressive games draws aggressive cognitions, affect, and behavioral responses. (Fischer, Guter, Frey, Kubitzki) However, the research we are going to look at now was carried out differently, with the help of psychological tests.

The research was carried out with the help of three studies, using GAM model that investigated the impact of racing games on cognitions, affect, and behaviors positively related to risk-taking in road traffic. To begin with, the researchers distributed a survey for young drivers that included questions on their road traffic behaviors as well as how often they played trendy car racing games. The second study performed was a little more complex. As the correlative studies are not able to resolve the causes and effects, scientists decided to directly manipulate the participants of the research. What they did was that they manipulated whether participants played one of three racing games or one of three “nonracing” games. The received dependent variable showed “the accessibility of cognitions” (risk-related terms and ideas) and affect (arousal, excitement)”. These two variables were associated with increased risk-taking tendencies in road traffic. (Fischer, Guter, Frey, Kubitzki) Finally, the study number 3 was conducted in the way that the risk-taking in actual road traffic behavior was more closely observed and examined. The scientists had the participants play either a more aggressive racing game or a neutral game first. After that they measured risk-taking behavior in critical road traffic situations “with a standardized and established computer-based reaction time measure for risk-taking in road traffic.” (Fischer, Guter, Frey, Kubitzki)

After concluding the three mentioned above studies, the scientists came to the conclusion that there is a positive association between the playing of racing games and self-reported risk promotion in real road traffic behavior. The researchers proved that virtual racing lead to aggressive driving, particularly among men, as women did not usually play video games as much. Having observed the negative impact of aggressive video games on violent responding of the participants, the scientists came to the conclusion that there is also a negative impact on cognitions, affect, and behaviors of those playing the games. The study has also shown that those who play video games tend to get into car accidents much more often than those who do not.

Almost since the time they appeared, there has been a constantly increasing amount of violence in video games. That is quite true that playing video games is an enjoyable activity, however, as we can see from the research mentioned above, nowadays playing video games is not only about fun, but it can have serious consequences indeed. It is deliberately obvious, as for me, that the effects of video games on people are the need for alarm today. Still, it is understandable that the situation is not as dramatic as it may seem from the first glance. The increase in aggression people get from playing video games is temporary. And the aggression does go away with time when if a frequent exposure is removed.

So the conclusion is that even though the video games are rather dangerous and can lead to terrible consequences, we should just exercise our common sense, and then video games will not only be safe, but actually beneficial. Since they definitely do make people more relaxed as well as it can be said that they develop attention skills. What should be done, as I think, is that parents who are concerned about their children’s behavior should check the game cover for pictures and ratings before purchasing it. In addition to that it is necessary that the influence of racing games in real life driving should be revealed to the public and in that way prevent the future car accident and rule breaking.

Work Cited

Fischer, P., Kubitzki, J., Guter, S., Frey, D., Virtual Driving and Risk Taking: Do Racing Games Increase Risk-Taking Cognitions, Affect, and Behaviors?, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied Copyright 2007 by the American Psychological Association 2007, Vol. 13, No. 1, 22–31 1076-898X/07/$12.00 DOI: 10.1037/1076-898X.13.1.22

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