Effects of Visual Perspective in Video Games on Activity Construals and Behavioural Intentions
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The perspective from which people view or imagine a situation has downstream effects on the construal of that situation and subsequent cognitions and behaviours. My study suggests that these effects from the mental and visual imagery literature carry over to the domain of interactive media, specifically video gaming. I manipulated whether 82 undergraduates played a motorcycle racing video game from either the first-person perspective or the third-person perspective and had participants rate the perceived risk of a list of 24 different inherently risky activities and then rate their willingness to engage in the same activities. Participants who had played the video game from the third-person perspective perceived the activities as more risky than participants in the first-person perspective. Furthermore, participants in the third-person perspective condition reported less willingness to engage in the risky activities than those in the first-person condition. Mediation analysis confirms that the effect of perspective on willingness to take risks is mediated by risk perceptions. Implications are discussed for the literatures on visual perspective, action construal and detrimental effects of video gaming.