The impact of racial representations in video game contexts: Identification with Gaming Characters.

Vincent Cicchirillo, Osei Appiah


Video games can impact individual’s identification with a character presented within that game. The following study examined the effect that racial representations (character race) in video games have upon identification, perceived similarity, and affective outcomes. Using two popular Grand Theft Auto video games participants rated their levels of identification and perceptions of similarity with characters of different races within that video game (White or Black characters/avatars). The results of this experiment show evidence that Black participants identified with and reported higher levels of perceived similarity with same race characters from a video game. Furthermore, the results showed significant differences for video games with racial representations (Black main character) for lower positive affect. This research shows significant and important findings for how individuals identify with characters in video game contexts. Furthermore, it extends research towards how identification with characters of race in media contexts impacts positive and negative outcomes. The theoretical implications of these results are discussed using the identification process of social influence.

Keywords: Race, Video Games, Identification, Affect

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3267 ISSN (Online)2224-3275

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