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Episode Info: One of my favorite aspects of psychological science is the diversity of approaches that can be found as we seek to better understand the differing topics we study.  I believe that today’s episode is a good demonstration of a researcher attempting to take a broader and more expansive approach to an area that is often discussed in a way that the general public misunderstands. In this episode, I speak with Dr. Shane Murphy about his article “The Perceived Meaning of the Video Game Experience: An Exploratory Study.” The abstract for the article can be found below. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to share them in the comment section, or you can contact me by going to Thank you for listening. Abstract "Psychological research on video game participation has focused on understanding the effects of games on players, with the content of the game described by researchers. This media effects approach has been criticized as unnecessarily restricting the scope of psychological research on video games. It is suggested that psychology research can benefit from adopting an approach that seeks to understand the experience of game participants, as is often done in media and communications research. The present study surveyed undergraduates and respondents from a computer gaming Web site and asked them to describe what their most recent gaming experience meant to them. A qualitative analysis of the 173 participants revealed 57 themes that best captured these gaming experience descriptions, falling into six general categories: Emotional Responses, Game Play, Social, Outcomes of Game Play, Goals, and Personal Qualities. The results confirm previous research findings that video game participation is an emotionally enjoyable experience, which incorporates a strong social dimension, but they also indicate that video game play is highly goal-directed. Self-determination theory, which seeks to understand intrinsically motivated behavior in terms of the psychological needs of autonomy, competence, and relatedness, was suggested as the most relevant theoretical framework for understanding these results. Descriptions of game meaning by players were varied and complex, and it is suggested that future psychological research in this field incorporate more detailed assessment of player experiences in addition to the traditional approach of analyzing game content. New assessment techniques such as observation and objective measur
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