Park, B. (2006). Video game play and motivation: Variation in appetitive and aversive motivational system activation as a function of virtual threat level. Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences, Vol 67(6-A), 2006. pp. 1963. Retrieved July 8, 2009, from PsycINFO database.

Video games are becoming more and more popular. As a medium, this popularity is bringing more attention to video games from politicians, media researchers and the rest of society. Though the topics of video game research have diversified over the past few years, the majority of studies focus on its users’ violent behavior or aggression. This dissertation investigated the pattern of relative activation in the appetitive and aversive motivational systems during violent video game play as a function of the motivational relevance of the stimuli. This dissertation compared the pattern of physiological responses and secondary task reaction times, as well as self-reported emotional responses to different conditions during video game play. Based on the Limited Capacity Model of Motivated Mediated Message Processing (LC4MP), proposed by A. Lang (2006), a video game was created to elicit certain patterns of motivational system activation. Both physiological responses and self-reported emotions showed that positive components of the video game successfully activated participants’ appetitive motivational system, and negative components successfully activated the aversive system. These different motivational conditions resulted in the different cognitive processing patterns predicted by LC4MP. Interestingly, the combination of both components did not simply lead to an increase in responses indicative of simultaneous appetitive and aversive system activation. Instead, each dependent variable tended to reflect one or the other of the motivational system’s individual activation. Also, as predicted by LC4MP, individuals with different motivational traits (positivity offset and negativity bias) showed different motivational system activation patterns, which are linked with their emotional experience during gaming. Individual differences in positivity offset also had the expected effect on video game usage. The results provide data for motivated cognition in the context of video gaming, and insight for the video game industry on improving user experience. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved)