Year of Publication

2018

Season of Publication

Spring

Paper Type

Master's Thesis

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Arts in General Psychology (MAGP)

Department

Psychology

NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Curtis E. Phills

Second Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth R. Brown

Department Chair

Dr. Lori Lange

College Dean

Dr. George Rainbolt

Abstract

Priming out-groups and taking the perspective of out-group members increases implicit and explicit identification with out-groups. Because the popularity of video games has increased dramatically over the past few decades and they have become an influential form of media, the current study investigated video games as another potential strategy to increase identification with and reduce prejudice against out-groups. Specifically, I investigated how manipulating the sexual orientation of the video game character participants used influenced implicit and explicit identification with homosexuals and implicit and explicit prejudice against homosexuals. Additionally, I investigated whether implicit and explicit identification with homosexuals would mediate the impact of video games on prejudice. Though I recruited enough participants to detect a medium effect size (169 participants in the final analyses), pre-registered analyses (osf.io/ynaw7) indicated that the sexual orientation of a video game character did not influence identification with or prejudice against homosexuals. Exploratory analyses demonstrated that among participants that identified with the video game character and played as a Gay character had increased explicit identification with and reduced prejudice against homosexuals. The possibility that increasing the strength of the manipulation by having participants play the game for multiple sessions, customize characters, and incorporating storytelling into the game are discussed.

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