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As a result, Riot’s experiments also offer a rare glimpse into the ways that companies nudge our behavior online, every minute of every day.
The League of Legends experiments are the brainchild of Jeffrey “Lyte” Lin, a game designer with a Ph. in cognitive neuroscience from the University of Washington in Seattle.
The experiment turned up some surprising results, too.
Many companies routinely do A/B testing to see how people respond to slightly different presentations of material on a Web site, tweaking text or images, for example, to get visitors to stick around longer or spend more money.
Riot’s experiments are also in its self-interest—to keep players from quitting and to attract new customers who might otherwise be scared away by the toxic reputation of multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games, says Jamie Madigan, a psychologist who studies video games.
I had the choice to manually file a report against the player who told me to kill myself, but Riot is doing one better: it has been testing machine learning techniques to automatically classify behaviors and swiftly punish or reward players accordingly.
League of Legends is often called the world’s most popular video game—it draws enough online spectators during championship events to rival the millions who watch the World Series and NBA Finals.
“When we first started, applying classic psychology theories was the most logical approach,” Lin says.
“But as we settled in and better understood how to look at human behaviors online, we started digging in more and more into bleeding edge stuff.” They soon realized that they could do more than just replicate classic experiments; they could do scientific research on human behavior that had never been possible before in an academic lab. Past psychology studies have shown that exposing people to certain stimuli, such as particular words, images or colors, can subconsciously influence their later behavior.
But it’s also a virtual lab capable of running experiments with thousands or even millions of human players, collecting data around the clock from time zones scattered across North America, Asia and Europe.
Such a “big data” approach to studying human behavior could lead to new psychological insights that would be impossible to achieve in the confines of a university lab.
Lin and his Riot colleagues wanted to see if they could use color to influence League of Legends gamers to act more cooperatively within their five-person teams and display less rude or toxic behavior toward other players.
In one study, called the “Optimus Experiment,” they tested five categories of messages displayed to players in red and blue, with white serving as a baseline for comparison.
We’ll be devoting a few resources to studying that this year.”Though Riot’s experiments lack the pristine conditions of a traditional academic psychology experiment, the sheer volume of behavioral data channeling through Riot’s game servers every day — chat messages and in-game actions from an estimated 27 million daily players — allows the Riot team to collect vast amounts of data very quickly.Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating