Abstract

Different forms of media, particularly narratives, allow for the consumer to identify and empathize with characters of stigmatized groups. As a result of increased empathy, consumers are better able to take the perspective of stigmatized individuals, reducing prejudice the consumer may have against them and their groups. The purpose of this research was to determine if an immersive video game could have the same capability to reduce prejudice in players. College of Wooster students (N=39) either played The Walking Dead: The Game, a game featuring a Black main character in a sympathetic situation, or a narrative version of the same story. There were no significant differences in state empathy or transportation, a method of measuring immersion, between groups. Although participants that played the game version were less likely to agree with anti-Black stereotypes than those who read the narrative version, the difference was not statistically significant. These findings suggest that video games may still be capable of reducing racial prejudice when the main character is a person of color and is in a distressing situation. Further research is necessary to determine if these findings can be replicated with more statistical power and to determine what causes this effect, if not empathy.

Advisor

Luttrell, Andrew

Department

Psychology

Disciplines

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Publication Date

2017

Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis

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© Copyright 2017 Linea K. Brouse