If available, click on the title of the paper to download a copy of one of the following conference presentations and other, ongoing research projects.
J.J. De Simone, Li-Hsiang Kuo, Tessa Verbruggen, and Bilge Mutlu (2012). Computers in Human Behavior, 28 (6), 2351-2358.In sports and board games, when an opponent cheats, the other players typically greet it with disdain, anger, and disengagement. However, work has yet to fully address the role of the computer cheating in video games. In this study, participants played either a cheating or a non-cheating version of a modified open-source tower-defense game. Results indicate that when a computer competitor cheats, players perceive the opponent as being more human. Cheating also increases player aggravation and presence, but does not affect enjoyment of the experience. Additionally, players that firmly believed that their opponent was controlled by the computer exhibited significantly less state hostility compared to players that were less certain of the nature of their competitor. Game designers can integrate subtle levels of cheating into computer opponents without any real negative responses from the players. The results indicate that minor levels of cheating might also increase player engagement with video games.
J.J. De Simone, to be published in volume 21, issue 3 of the Atlantic Journal of Communication
A majority of the video game literature focuses on the negative effects of violent gaming. Additionally, research tends not to analyze in-game practices of varying game genres; instead, researchers treat games as a largely uniform interactive media. This study addresses gaming from multiple perspectives, including in-game pro-social actions, learning about civics, and witnessing or practicing antisocial behaviors while gaming. Using the uses and gratifications perspective and social-cognitive theories of gaming as the theoretical backbones, this study analyzed a nationally representative and convenience sample dataset using multiple regression analyses. Several genres revealed positive associations with in-game pro-social actions, learning about civics, and witnessing and/or practicing antisocial behaviors while gaming. Specifically, the role-playing genre was related to prosocial behaviors, learning about civics, and the antisocial behaviors. Similarly, the first-person shooter genre correlated significantly with each of the five dependent variables. Thus, several genres necessitate that gamers behave prosocially, antisocially, and educationally. This lends credence to the argument that games do not simply have negative effects on individuals, but can simultaneously have positive effects. These results are discussed in terms of reimagining the social-cognitive theories of gaming, given that the stimulus inherent in each genre is more complicated than traditional games studies assume.
Tim Macafee and J.J. De Simone (2012). Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 15 (11), 579-584.
In spring 2011, thousands of Wisconsin residents protested a controversial bill spearheaded by Governor Scott Walker. Engagement with the protests via social media was popular, especially among young people. The current study utilizes a communication mediation theoretical framework to addresses the extent to which these young people facilitated their offline protest participation via four social media. Survey data reveal that the impact of social media engagement was use-specific. Specifically, participatory Facebook and Blog use was a pathway to offline protest participation, while informational Twitter and YouTube influenced engaging with the protests. We move research forward by examining the implications of multiple political social media use surrounding a compelling case study.