Virtual Worlds

Virtual reality has long fascinated the collective psyche. Often portrayed by the media (science fiction – countless imagined worlds and alternate, parallel realities, and even mystery – SVU Law & Order -and thriller and, probably the most intuitive, cartoons and animation – Bart Simpson shocks everyone when he finishes a novel video game in seconds, game developers have to make a game difficult in order for it to be interesting), it has now become an alternate, but indeed accessible reality with MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games), such as the World of Warcraft. Naturally, scientists have decided to look at the repercussions of such games on individuals, their development and interactions.

Violent games such as Grand Theft Auto had often been blamed as inciting violence players, for example by desensitizing the user to graphic depictions. Alternatively, other research has suggested that these pass-times may serve a cathartic function allowing the only possible safe expression of such feelings. Regardless, one is reminded that aggressive television shows do result in more aggression exhibited by children during playtime, as recorded by number of hostile acts. Along these lines, psychologist Albert Bandura’s research on modeling has shown that youth tends to imitate adults in behavior (e.g. the Bobo doll treatment study).


Virtual world heroes and superheroes often possess superpowers. As can be seen from the depiction, image: Copyright © Megan Jorgensen