Monday, March 19th 2007

Racing games increase likeliness of destructive driving decisions in the real world

German researchers have recently conducted a study to determine the effects of games that promote risky decisions on real-world driving. These researchers took a batch of subjects (both women and men), and divided them into three groups. The first group played first person shooter games, such as Medal of Honor. The second group played more calming/family-oriented games, like Crash Bandicoot. The third group played hardcore racing games such as Need For Speed. All test subjects got to play these games on a Sony PlayStation 2 on a gigantic 72" television. The results of this experiment drew parallels between racing games that promoted violent/risky decisions in the game and violent/risky decisions in real life. First person shooters and family-oriented games did next to nothing to a subject's driving ability. However, racing games did a ton to a subject's actual driving.

Playing these video games does the following things to a person's driving:
  • Increases the accessibility of thoughts that are positively related to risk taking.
  • Leads to enhanced arousal and excitement.
  • Increases risk-taking behaviour in critical road traffic situations.
While both sexes showed these behavior changes, only men actually bothered to apply what they learned racing in Need For Speed in real-world traffic situations. Granted, this experiment had one major flaw that could skewer results: subjects were only watched while driving in dangerous situations, not during regular driving. For all we know, females may apply the "enhanced arousal and excitement" to real-world driving, while males only get aroused while driving in heavy traffic.

If you'd like to read the full study, please do so here.Source: Reg Hardware
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65 Comments on Racing games increase likeliness of destructive driving decisions in the real world

#1
C.Ash
Better tell my driving instructer that i had a big dose of Need For Speed Carbon right before the lesson ;-)
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#2
ktr
NFS is too arcade-ish, you should try Test drive unlimited, pretty nice...
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#3
C.Ash
by: ktr
NFS is too arcade-ish, you should try Test drive unlimited, pretty nice...
They all pale in comparison to Burnout anyway.
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#4
KennyT772
burnout...the best arcade racer to date..
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#5
RickyG512
to totaly disagree, im a good racing gamer but when it comes to real driving i drive realy safe and calm

but i think this is because my car has a MPG meter and it kills me when it drops when i drive it fast

i drive safe coz it saves money and its more greener

everytime a car over takes mee i always meet it at the next traffic lights, if i drive fast i will only be like 3 meters in front compared to if i was driving econicaly
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#6
zekrahminator
McLovin
In my opinion, if you'd like to drive economically, get a stick shift :). A small list of advantages:
  • You have much more control over the vehicle
  • The vehicle has less mass
  • There's less crap making friction in the transmission, unless you have a nearly-dead clutch
  • Once you learn stick, you'll be much better with automatics (you'll know exactly how to use the advantages of automatics, and then you can go right back to playing with a manual)
  • There's nothing quite like accelerating from 30 to 65 as you're merging into highway traffic :).
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#7
J0N
Do most Americans drive Automatics? Manual (Stick Shift) makes driving fun. Automatic is boring, not to mention more dangerous!
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#8
zekrahminator
McLovin
I'd say the majority of Americans drive automatics, considering how many brake lights I see going down small hills (third gear is awesome), and how many people have no issue staying in place stopped on a hill at an interesection (hill hold...gotta love it).

Remind me, what's so dangerous about driving automatic? In my opinion, it keeps you a bit safer at intersections (ever stall out in the middle of an intersection? Not fun :p).
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#9
KennyT772
automatics are standard these days, mainly due to servicing and the ease of use.

whats rather entertaining is that the very cheapest cars are manuals, middle range auto, and high end a stick is seen as a feature..when with geo metros its the only option!
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#10
C.Ash
by: zekrahminator
In my opinion, if you'd like to drive economically, get a stick shift :). A small list of advantages:
  • You have much more control over the vehicle
  • The vehicle has less mass
  • There's less crap making friction in the transmission, unless you have a nearly-dead clutch
  • Once you learn stick, you'll be much better with automatics (you'll know exactly how to use the advantages of automatics, and then you can go right back to playing with a manual)
  • There's nothing quite like accelerating from 30 to 65 as you're merging into highway traffic :).

As I see it, using a stickshift is like still using a butter churn to make butter - completely un-neccesery and erartating to use, and i cant imagine anyone who still want to use it. Driving with a stickshift is simply awfull, and i thank goodness that i was born in a time where u got automatic, unlike my parents who had to use it for so many years and are extremely happy they dont have to anymore.
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#11
J0N
by: zekrahminator
Remind me, what's so dangerous about driving automatic? In my opinion, it keeps you a bit safer at intersections (ever stall out in the middle of an intersection? Not fun :p).
Because, the car keeps going unless you have the break on. Old people driving Automatics cause a lot of accidents!
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#12
J0N
by: C.Ash
As I see it, using a stickshift is like still using a butter churn to make butter - completely un-neccesery and erartating to use, and i cant imagine anyone who still want to use it. Driving with a stickshift is simply awfull, and i thank goodness that i was born in a time where u got automatic, unlike my parents who had to use it for so many years and are extremely happy they dont have to anymore.
In the UK, Manual probably out numbers Automatic 10 - 1. Driving manual is way more fun! You can get better performance out of the car, and it keeps your concentration levels up.
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#13
olstyle
by: J0N
In the UK, Manual probably out numbers Automatic 10 - 1. Driving manual is way more fun! You can get better performance out of the car, and it keeps your concentration levels up.
In Germany it´s even more.
Who ever bought something like a BMW with an Automatic should be shot.
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#14
J0N
I think every European would agree with me when I say Automatics take the fun and enjoyment out of driving.
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#15
zekrahminator
McLovin
I don't mind driving either one, but I definitely prefer driving stick....I just wish the stick shift car I use had power steering :p. And I wish the automatic minivan wasn't so big (braking/turning/accelerating can be a challenge sometimes).... :roll:.
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#16
Darkrealms
by: C.Ash
As I see it, using a stickshift is like still using a butter churn to make butter - completely un-neccesery and erartating to use, and i cant imagine anyone who still want to use it. Driving with a stickshift is simply awfull, and i thank goodness that i was born in a time where u got automatic, unlike my parents who had to use it for so many years and are extremely happy they dont have to anymore.
J0N this is why automatics out number manuals in the US by at least 3 to 1. It is getting harder and harder to get vehicles with manual (many models don't offer it anymore). The US laws take a lot of the fun out of driving. So most Americans drive point A to point B :(
I drive a 4 spd manual and a 6 spd streetbike ;) I love manual but driving just isn't as fun in the US (I've driven in many countries).
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#17
Jimmy 2004
I don't see why anyone would want to drive an automatic myself. Having control over the gears is great, and if you know how to use them you don't even think about doing it, it comes naturally. Plus in an auto you get bored because there is nothing to do... and they're often a bit slower... and they use more fuel... the more things your car does for you, the more things there are that will break and render your vehicle useless for a week.

As for this survey, it used less than 200 people so not exactly the most conclusive evidence. IMO, it's a load of crap that they're saying the games make people drive faster. The link between the two is the other way around - people who enjoy driving (fast) are more likely to buy racing games, so of course you'll get this pattern. An old granny who drives under the speed limit is hardly going to get a racing game, but an 18 year old who loves driving quick is always going to have the latest NFS.

The people that do research like this analyse it in such a narrow view, hardly any of it is worth listening to any more. It's all been moulded to suit the view of the researcher.
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#18
ktr
automatic in US due to...
  • easy to learn...

  • cheaper on the insurance

  • US roads (especially in the bay area) are heavy in traffic

  • more focus on the road, less hassle...
Automatic are getting better with new technology such as tiptronic, CVT...etc...

also manuals are getting better due to VW technology on clutch-less stick shift...which can be found on the new Audi R8 (nice car)...

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#19
Whilhelm
This is a joke, they call need for speed a hardcore racing game. What about the driving simulatiors? Like GTR2, GTL, rFactor, Richard Burns Rally, Live for Speed and others. I would really like to see them do this study with driving sims instead of arcade games and see what the results are. To do well in these games you have to apply real driving techniques and in a simulation environment you can learn from your mistakes without consequence. It just bugs me that this trys to make all racing games look bad. They need to conduct this test with arcade games and sims and I can pretty much guarentee that the sims will result in the same if not improved driving ability.
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#20
zekrahminator
McLovin
Clutchless stick takes all the fun out of it, I saw it at the Kia dealership when my dad was shopping for new cars. Basically, you have Park, Reverse, Neutral, Drive....and then you can slide it into a, erm, lever-thingy (YOU tell me what it is :p), and that lever-thingy has two positions: + and -. You press + when you want to go to the next gear, and - when you want to go to the previous gear. The automatic transmission keeps it in the gear specified, and makes sure clutching is taken care of as well. Really insults people that bothered to learn the clutch, but otherwise easy as an automatic to learn...makes cars a lot like the playstation versions we grew up driving :p.
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#21
Completely Bonkers
Racing sims DO make you drive a bit harder... and for some petrol-heads like ourselves... the opportunity to test a sim-car by pushing it to the limit does two things:

1./ We are MORE LIKELY TO DRIVE BETTER when pushing a real-car to the limit, but
2./ We are more likely to push the car to the limit.

I think that's an undeniable fact. For non-petrolheads, who are not natural drivers, and don't have good balance, road judgement, speed awareness, etc. then they are NOT BETTER drivers at speed, i.e. Rule 1 above does not apply. Therefore if they do push their driving harder, it is most definitely more dangerous. QED.

Racing/car sims are great. After playing Need for Speed Porsche Unleashed... and loving it... I bought myself a 996. I now drive a CL600 monster. I'm out of pocket for high bucks... all due to a $20 game! LOL
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#22
Whilhelm
Completely Bonkers you make a good point.

I have found that most bad drivers are unaware of the limits of themselves and their car and they try to do things that are dangerous because they do not no any better. Sims can help you understand what cars can do in a safe environment and have made me a better driver. obviously the user must be aware of teh fact that most cars in games are representing high performance racing cars that will perform differently then your average road car. They can give you a good idea of what is going to happen and how to deal with it when you take a car past its limit. Really the best way to do it is to take your car to a track or a large open area that you can push your car and go over the limit to see what it can do. Then that knowledge can help you to get out of dangerous situations in real world driving.
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#23
zekrahminator
McLovin
by: J0N
Because, the car keeps going unless you have the break on. Old people driving Automatics cause a lot of accidents!
Well, to be honest, most cars have fixed that. And on the cars that don't? It's called "automatic hill hold". I was EXTREMELY impressed the first time I discovered I didn't need a foot on the brake to keep the car in one spot. And then I got bored :p.
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#24
J0N
In the UK we ridicule people who learn to drive in an Automatic! ;)
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#25
Protius
Stick ftw! so much more fun to drive
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