1st Edition

Evolutionary Psychology and Digital Games Digital Hunter-Gatherers

    266 Pages
    by Routledge

    266 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Evolutionary Psychology and Digital Games: Digital Hunter-Gatherers is the first edited volume that systematically applies evolutionary psychology to the study of the use and effects of digital games. The book is divided into four parts:

    • Theories and Methods

    • Emotion and Morality

    • Social Interaction

    • Learning and Motivation

    These topics reflect the main areas of digital games research as well as some of the basic categories of psychological research. The book is meant as a resource for researchers and graduate students in psychology, anthropology, media studies and communication as well as video game designers who are interested in learning more about the evolutionary roots of player behaviors and experiences.

    1. Why an evolutionary psychological approach to digital games?

    (Johannes Breuer, Daniel Pietschmann, Benny Liebold, and Benjamin P. Lange)

    Part I: Theories and Methods

    2. Evolution of play: Playing digital games between biological imperatives and a pretend-mode of thinking

    (Benny Liebold, Kevin Koban, and Peter Ohler)

    3. Digital sandboxes for stone age minds: Virtual worlds as Bischofian fitness potential landscapes

    (Michael Brill, Benjamin P. Lange, and Frank Schwab)

    4. Hardwired to play: An evolutionary, neurophysiological approach to video game research

    (Chelsea Lonergan, Britney Craighead, and René Weber)

    5. Survival of the fittest interpretation of the data: Problems with flexible analysis and interpretation of digital games research based in evolutionary psychology theories, and open science as a solution

    (Adrienne Holz Ivory, James Ivory, and Malte Elson)

    Part II: Emotion and Morality

    6. Emotion theories, the affective system, and why a digital games researcher should care

    (J. Matias Kivikangas)

    7. Evolutionary formidability mechanisms as moderators of fear experience

    (Teresa Lynch)

    8. The interplay between morality and video games

    (Nicholas Matthews)

    9. The evolutionary roots of media-based moral panics

    (Christopher J. Ferguson)

    Part III: Social Interaction

    10. (Potential) Incubators of prosocial behaviors: An evolutionary approach to understanding dynamic social video game play interactions

    (John A. Velez)

    11. New worlds, old rules: An evolutionary psychology approach to player behavior in online games

    (T. Franklin Waddell and Amanda Bailey)

    12. Safety in numbers: Online community sizes in response to digital human predation

    (Nathaniel Poor)

    Part IV: Learning and Motivation

    13. You learn what you play: On the fundamental coupling of playing and learning in humans and digital games

    (Johannes Breuer)

    14. Learning to play: How virtual world affordances drive adaptation and learning in Grand Theft Auto

    (Annie Lang, Jingjing Han, Xia Zheng, Anthony Almond, Teresa Lynch, and Nicholas Matthews)

    15. Game on: Sex differences in the production and consumption of video games

    (Benjamin P. Lange and Frank Schwab)

    16. Of princesses, paladins, and players: Gender stereotypes in video games

    (André Melzer)

    17. Natural born virtual killers: Towards an integrated model for the appeal of violent video games

    (Kevin Koban)


    Johannes Breuer is a senior researcher at GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Germany.

    Daniel Pietschmann is a senior researcher at the Institute for Media Research at Chemnitz University of Technology, Germany.

    Benny Liebold is an independent researcher and lecturer at the Institute for Media Research at Chemnitz University of Technology, Germany.

    Benjamin P. Lange is a senior researcher and lecturer at Würzburg University (Institute Human-Computer-Media), Germany.

    "A fact-filled and vitally important book in which top scholars successfully employ evolutionary theory to better understand the causes and effects of digital games." – Patrick Markey, Villanova University, USA

    "An evolutionary psychology approach is critical to understanding the implicit processes that explain both why we play and how we make sense of play. Play is as natural to humanity as evolution, and implicating these natural processes into models of player psychology stands to deepen our ability to make claims about the experience of video game play." Nicholas D. Bowman, West Virginia University

    "An important book that dares to dig deeper. Evolutionary psychology helps us uncover the underlying logics of why people play, and why digital games may (or may not) yield specific effects. Highly recommended for anyone who really wants to understand digital gaming." Thorsten Quandt, University of Münster, Germany