One of the topics we’re studying as part of Social Psychology this fall is the notion of the self. We each maintain an “ideal self” in our minds that represents who we aspire to be.
It appears that one of the outcomes of videogames is the ability to experiment with ideal selves and the pleasure we derive from being the ideal self. In fact, the more discrepancy there was between the actual self and the ideal self, the more players enjoyed the game.
“When somebody wants to feel they are more outgoing and then plays with this personality it makes them feel better in themselves when they play,” explained Dr. Przybylski.
The research is in press at Psychological Science, but was covered in a recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle.