Study: Violent In-game Ads More Memorable to Players

September 4, 2009 -

New research indicates that in-game advertisement which feature violent elements may be more memorable to players than nonviolent ads.

MIT's Technology Review reports on the study conducted in part at the University of Luxemburg

[Researchers] developed a simple racing game called AdRacer... A player drives around a virtual course and scores points by hitting targets along the way--as she drives, unobtrusive graphical ads are displayed as billboard graphics... while a camera records her eye movements. After playing, each player's ability to recall of brands shown on the side of the road was tested.

 

Those who played a violent version of the game, where the goal was to run down pedestrians, resulting in a blood-splattered screen, demonstrated significantly better recall of advertised brands than those who played the regular version...

Of course, while violent ads may increase the player's memory of the product, they could also be a public relations disaster in the making. Technology Review notes that University of Luxemburg researchers have also found that ad violence can lessen a gamer's opinion of a brand.

GP: The screenshot at left is from the University of Luxemburg's AdRacer.


Comments

Re: Study: Violent In-game Ads More Memorable to Players

So is to "hit along the way" the same as to "run down"? It's unclear. There is room for doubt. From the linked reports I couldn't tell if the targets are moving, or if the player just drives through them "along the way."

If the targets are moving in exactly the same patterns as the pedestrians, it would be hard to claim bias, but this is not necessarily what the article describes. If the targets are stationary, or in any way more predictable or easier to run down than the pedestrians, I think Kabyk and MechaTama31 might have a point about possible bias.

 

(If the targets move in exactly the same ways as the pedestrians, why wouldn't they say so in the article?)

 

Re: Study: Violent In-game Ads More Memorable to Players

It doesn't appear that the study accounted for the possibility that having a goal like aiming for targets, not necessarily the violence, may make people pay more attention to their surroundings. The violence is not, as some above have said, the only difference introduced. I'd be interested to see the results if they had players aim for objects in a non-violent way, like going through rings or sets of flags.

Re: Study: Violent In-game Ads More Memorable to Players

They did.

"A player drives around a virtual course and scores points by hitting targets along the way..."

It doesn't make clear whether there are differences between the targets and the pedestrians, but it sounds like they built them to be very similar with just graphical effects differentiating the two.

Re: Study: Violent In-game Ads More Memorable to Players

My understanding of the article is that is what they.

--------------------------------------------------

I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Study: Violent In-game Ads More Memorable to Players

Seems pretty obvious to me. Violence (or at least some action) is interesting and can make things more memorable.

For example say you went to a resturant. You had a good meal, paid the bill and left, no big deal. Just another average meal. Now what if in the middle of your meal some stranger walked up, threw your food on the floor, punched you in the face, and ran out. I can guarentee you'll remember that forever!

Re: Study: Violent In-game Ads More Memorable to Players

Yet another bias study...How about the fact that players are more FOCUSED during a TIME TRIAL than when the goal is just to run over people?

I know personally I do, and CAN, pay more attention to the environment (includes billboards) when I'm just strolling around, rather than fervently trying to get to the end of the course before time runs out.

Re: Study: Violent In-game Ads More Memorable to Players

Agreed with the above; the only bias here is your own against any study which even mentions media violence. (They aren't even saying that violent media is bad!)

This is basically how you do science. Take two copies of a scenario, change one element between them, and see if you get a difference in the results. They did. People remembered more about the ads when the game involved running people over. The two games were the same design ("follow the course and hit targets") but for some reason, violence made a difference.

What does this mean? God knows. Maybe violence => more interesting => more memorable, and the ads benefited from the proximity to violent scenes. Maybe it was the grounding in reality, where hitting something with your car probably will make a mess, which made the players more susceptible to the ads.

Or maybe the sample size was 5 people and 2 control and the whole thing is meaningless. That seems to come up often in violent media studies.

 

Re: Study: Violent In-game Ads More Memorable to Players

As I ranted above, my guess is that the effect ties into survivability.  When threats are high we are more aware of our surroundings (at least at a subconcious level) since if bad stuff is already happening, more bad stuff increases the chances of a nasty case of death.

While if non threatening situations are happening, we tend to relax and start to zone out a bit.  Combat patrols run into this problem a lot.  We just are not as aware of our surroundings.

Re: Study: Violent In-game Ads More Memorable to Players

True, true. Blood splatter is not a normal sight for most people, so seeing it is immediately disconcerting and puts you on edge. Witness any of the numerous scenes in the Silent Hill series for a gaming example of that. Early on in the games you'll find a blood trail, and *foom* you're focused and on edge even though you're still just slogging through fog for the next few minutes. On the other hand, give someone a scene that looks like any boring old street and it will be just that: boring.

Re: Study: Violent In-game Ads More Memorable to Players

OK genius, what's the bias?

--------------------------------------------------

I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Study: Violent In-game Ads More Memorable to Players

How was this 'bais'?

They took a controlled test where the only differing factor was violence.  They then used an easily measured (and narrowly focused) metric.

Though it should be pointed out that they also found that when playing the violent version, the players spend LESS time looking at the ads but recall/imprint was greater.

Re: Study: Violent In-game Ads More Memorable to Players

This actually makes some sense.

I can imagine humans being tuned to be more aware of their enviroment when violent (and thus potentially dangerous) things are going on.

 
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NeenekoAh, that old straw man. That is one of the ironies about the discussion, the whole point is showing how good people can still have problems with sexism and not realize it.09/17/2014 - 9:11pm
Andrew EisenYes, there have been a handful of op-eds suggesting that the term “gamer” has become tainted (two that I know of) but that’s the opinion of only a few. I've seen an equal number from those who disagree.09/17/2014 - 8:55pm
Andrew EisenExcept, you haven't provided a single example of a site that’s actually calling gamers a "collective of Sexist White Bigoted Basement Dwelling Manchildren."09/17/2014 - 8:55pm
TechnogeekIf you want to make the stereotype of gamers less painful, try calling people out when they do bad shit rather than handwave it away as "not all gamers". Even if it is a few bad apples, that'll still more than enough to spoil the barrel.09/17/2014 - 8:53pm
quiknkoldI'm not going to Sell Gamergate anymore. It can sell itself. But I will sell the integrity of the Gamer. That we are still good people, who create and donate to charitys, Who engage with those around us and just want to have a good time.09/17/2014 - 7:35pm
quiknkoldpeople should not be harrassed and punished for the actions of a few. I've always welcomed and accepted everybody who wanted to join in. Who wanted to make them, or play them. I love good strong female protagonists, and want more.09/17/2014 - 7:35pm
quiknkoldOne of the tennants of Gamergate is to stand up against Harrassment. That Gamers arent like those assholes. We can argue for days if the Sexism or Antifeminism or corruption is there or not, But the one thing I believe in and wear on my sleave is that09/17/2014 - 7:35pm
quiknkoldBut there were these websites, attacking me and people like me, for the actions of a few. and then others joined in on Twitter and other places. there was a hashtag that said "explain in 4 words a gamer" and it made me sick.09/17/2014 - 7:35pm
quiknkoldManchildren who are awful people and that the Identity of the Gamer should die. This hurt me personally. I've always identified as a Gamer. Even in my childhood years, I was a Gamer. All my friends are Gamers. Its one of the core parts of my identity.09/17/2014 - 7:34pm
quiknkoldUltimately, With the whole Gamergate thing, I jumped on it due to the harassment. A small number of assholes harrass Anita and Zoe, and then all the publications lumped together Gamers as this collective of Sexist White Bigoted Basement Dwelling09/17/2014 - 7:34pm
quiknkoldEZacharyKnight : Lemme ask you a question. We have people who cling to walls, people who fire lasers from their eyes, people who can shapeshift....and yet fabric needs to be upheld to RL physics?09/17/2014 - 6:54pm
james_fudgebody paint?09/17/2014 - 5:33pm
E. Zachary Knightquiknkold, I stand corrected on the buttcrack thing. Still, I know of no fabric that actually does that.09/17/2014 - 5:05pm
Andrew EisenSo... it's unethical to discuss the ethics surrounding public interest vs. personal privacy?09/17/2014 - 4:45pm
prh99The source for the game was just released not long ago, it's at https://github.com/keendreams/keen09/17/2014 - 4:43pm
prh99An Indiegogo champagin bought the rights to the early 90's game Keen Dreams to make it open source and release it on GOG etc. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/let-s-get-keen-dreams-re-released-legally09/17/2014 - 4:42pm
james_fudgeAlso http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-London/2014/09/17/Exposed-the-secret-mailing-list-of-the-gaming-journalism-elite09/17/2014 - 4:29pm
Andrew EisenI read the Kotaku story. Nowhere does it say anything close to "Gamers are white bigoted sexist losers." It's commenting specifically on the crap being slung at people discussing gender issues in games. So, what's the problem?09/17/2014 - 4:06pm
Andrew EisenYeah, I can imagine Spiderwoman posed like in your second link.09/17/2014 - 4:00pm
Andrew EisenThat's not the same pose. Spiderman (who is wearing an actual outfit rather than body paint) is crouched low to the ground. Kinda like a spider! Spiderwoman has her butt up in the air like she's waiting to be mounted.09/17/2014 - 3:59pm
 

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