Lin, S. (2011). Effect of opponent type on moral emotions and responses to video game play. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, And Social Networking, 14(11), 695-698. doi:10.1089/cyber.2010.0523

This study suggests that fighting against different types of opponents in video games (e.g., human opponents vs. monster opponents) may lead to different emotional responses and moral judgments toward game characters. Based on Bandura’s moral disengagement theory, this study proposes that shooting at monster opponents makes game players feel less guilty and judge the player-controlled character as more morally justified. An experiment was conducted in which participants played shooting games with either human opponents or monster opponents. The results show that when playing against monster opponents, participants felt both less ashamed and less guilty, reported enjoying the game more, and judged their character as more justified than participants who played against human opponents. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)