Science Judges Your Personality Using Fallout 3

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Science Judges Your Personality Using Fallout 3

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Scientists believe that Fallout 3 might measure your personality as effectively as a long, boring quiz.

Back in 2011, PhD student Giel van Lankveld noticed something interesting about Neverwinter Nights. If you compared the in-game experiences of characters with the personality test results of players, certain in-game actions lined up with prominent personality traits. These results were consistent among gamers and non-gamers alike, suggesting that video games could be just as effective at evaluating personality traits as any other formal quiz. Of course a single study couldn't actually prove anything, so van Lankveld set about confirming his findings with more science and a new videogame. Now van Lankveld's latest study is suggesting that the introduction to Fallout 3 could reveal a great deal about a player's personality.

As with the Neverwinter Nights study, participants who had never before played Fallout 3 were given a period of time to complete the chosen scenario. After the time was up, players completed the NEO-FFI personality test, which ranks individuals in terms of Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. "From our results," the study reads, "we may conclude that personality effects on game behavior exist for all five traits of the Five Factor Model."

While correlations between player personality and character behavior weren't as prominent as those in the Neverwinter Nights study, the authors still found the results to be statistically significant. For example, players with high openness rankings generally explored their environments at a fast rate while conscientious players avoided confrontational dialogue options. Players with high rankings in neuroticism, meanwhile, tended to avoid conversations altogether and usually took much longer to complete the scenario.

The study's authors acknowledge that some problems could skew the results, such as fewer measurable variables in Fallout 3's introduction compared to the previous experiment. Despite these limitations, the results still suggest that even in a digital fantasy your characters might have a lot to say about the kind of person you are. It's certainly enough to encourage van Lankveld to continue his research. His next study will be a large-scale experiment that observes the behaviors of players across several different games.

Thanks to Michael Cook for the info.

Source: AAAI

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Question: What happens if I'm in the mood to just murder people? The results vary depending on my mood and current state of intoxication.

edit: Nice avatar, looks like one of the early robots that fought alongside my brother unit Xan Kriegor.

I need to get back to this game sometime.
I'd be a ghool not to.

This actually sounds like sound logic. In my main mmo dragon nest My main is a Engineer. This is the summoner class that allows you to summon robots and towers to fight for you. I guess that means I like it when people to do things for me instead of doing it myself but like managing them and being able to step in when necessary and get the job done. Also my other class is a priest and although its main idea is to buff and heal i mostly spawn attack structure and just like stunning and stacking damage. That can be construed as I'm nice and willing to help, but I like to take the task in my own hands and whittle it down little by little.

DVS BSTrD:
I need to get back to this game sometime.
I'd be a ghool not to.

Wow dude. That... that... uh... Let's just say that maybe you need to take a break from the puns... <_<

OT: Considering how I've pretty much remember almost the entirety of Fallout 3 and its wasteland, I wonder how this study will show my personality. I'll be the nicest bastard who'll go head first into danger and do the most dastardly things to get the nicest weapons. Terrible Shotgun you say? Bye bye, Smiling Jack! :D

*BLAM*

Hopefully not or I'm a super OCD-type character who has to check every crate and pick up every useless item even if its only worth the smallest denomination of currency. Also I would apparently have a tendency to steal everything in sight.

id hate to see what they say about me since i pick up everything to sell even if it yields me 1 cap, i dont steal anything, and im nice to everyone including slavers but if im attacked i show no mercy

No, I think not mister scientist guy. What Yahtzee once said is true, who you are in a video game is very different than who you are in real life. There's just one thing that ruins your experiments, and that's the save button. Hmm... I have the choice to save a town or nuke it into oblivion. In real life I wouldn't mess with the thing, but I want to see the nuke go off, so I'll save and then go press the boom button. Boom! Reload...

Also, there are clearly better paths than others. For instance, there's this android person living in rivet city. In real life, I'd find out who he is, tell him, dissuade him from killing his previous owner and convince the guy that his android was destroyed (thanks to the Railroad peoples). However, whenever I play, I tell the Android who he is, offer to kill the previous owner so I can get the really good gun... then I tell the guy who the android is for HIS reward of better vats percentages. If I'm playing a good guy, I then kill the previous owner and if I'm playing a bad guy I don't do anything else.

...actually, in real life, I'd die trying to get to the old programmer...
...no wait, I'd die long before I get to Rivet City...
...I'm not entirely sure I'd make it out of the Vault without being shot to death...

While I do groan inwardly when I see some-one do something stupid in real life I do NOT proceed to kill the entire town as retribution.

A better study would be over multiple games of a similar genre with more rigid controls ie no saving, achievements, looking up answers on the internet etc.

You mean that in a situation where I am given more or less free reign and choice to do certain things, or not do certain things (in this case in a videogame) my choices tend to correlate directly with my individual personality?!

My choices tend to correlate directly with my personality...

This just in! Obvious results are obvious!

Seriously, how does one get the funding to do these experiments? I want in on it.

Also, aside from the inherent derpyness of their hypothesis (and the obvious flaw when they invariably encounter someone that consciously plays COUNTER to their type for trophies or lolz) who are these people they are testing?

"Just some random people that agreed to do a psychological experiment we took off the street, we had them play FO3 and fill out a test."

No. Regular people would tell you to fuck off, and anyone that volunteers for psychological experimentation is inherently a sampling error.

DVS BSTrD:
I need to get back to this game sometime.
I'd be a ghool not to.

Swing-and-a-miss

OT: It makes sense that it could measure your personality, but what if you're just RP-ing? A character you've given a made-up identity to must be impossible to measure, given that staying in character 100% of the time is pretty much impossible.

So where do I sign up to play video games for science?

I like this. It's not about the obvious connection, it's about having a different way of giving a personality test. Besides that, it seems like you could get more interesting and varied results compared to a 200 question test which only has something like 4 or 5 answers to each question to select from. And besides all that, compared to that test with so many questions, it sure sounds like more fun.

Xan Krieger:
Question: What happens if I'm in the mood to just murder people?

KoudelkaMorgan:
derpsnip

The same could be said of any test then: "I'll just answer randomly. Your test sucks. Can't evaluate a dissentious individual such as I, huh? I'm so fucking cool and rebellious! Fuck science!"

The point is that it requires your participation. It's not "Play this game for fun and I'll tell you who you are", it's "Here's a virtual scenario and what would you do?".

Mr.Tea:

Xan Krieger:
Question: What happens if I'm in the mood to just murder people?

KoudelkaMorgan:
derpsnip

The same could be said of any test then: "I'll just answer randomly. Your test sucks. Can't evaluate a dissentious individual such as I, huh? I'm so fucking cool and rebellious! Fuck science!"

The point is that it requires your participation. It's not "Play this game for fun and I'll tell you who you are", it's "Here's a virtual scenario and what would you do?".

The problem you have with using a role-playing game to measure personality is that people will be, er, role-playing. They're not reacting to a situation how they would, they're reacting how their character would. A kind and considerate person role-playing a trigger-happy merc will come across as a bit of a heartless bastard because they're playing the part of one - kinda the whole point of a role-playing game.

I suppose the test could achieve some half-way meaningful results if the players were all expressly told to just be themselves, but that defeats the point of an RPG, surely? In the same way that an actor is acting when they're playing a part but not acting when they're just being themselves, a player is only role-playing when they're, well, playing a role. Giving someone an RPG and telling them expressly not to RP seems a bit daft.

I wonder what he would say about me who completed every side quest and explored every single area in the game and turned on NCR, the legion and new vegas by leaving it defenseless. He probably would not say anything and just send me to an asylum.

I think the test functions around play style and minute choices rather than goal completion, but what does stealing and destroying every item, character, and movable object from start to finish evaluate to?

Well considering I was a horder in this and a horder in real life there's some evidence it's correct.

Rather small sample size, only 35 individuals. While interesting, I don't think the results are in any way significant. Also, they only evaluated their responses to the tutorial section, up to completion of the GOAT.

Got to love all the people who gave all the predictable "Well it's wrong because I do X, when in real life I'd do Y", when the study wasn't talking about specific actions such as moral choices. Rather how you play the game.

There are some people who explore every single room in a place and loot every chest. There are some who don't bother exploring and instead only stick to the main tasks. There are some who skip dialogue and others who go out of their way to read it all.

Those are the kind of things they are looking at. Not "Blowing up Megaton makes you a psychopath".

Uh...mr. scientist, just so you know I only killed him because he had a really nice shotgun...and money.

Now see if this was a different kind of study, it would say that game behavior effects real life behavior.

While I'm not too sure about the validity of their findings so far, I'm interested to see where this goes.

DVS BSTrD:
I need to get back to this game sometime.
I'd be a ghool not to.

That pun was the bomb, but expect some fallout from those who don't agree

DVS BSTrD:
I need to get back to this game sometime.
I'd be a ghool not to.

Haha, I don't think the others get it, that or I'm not getting it, but you intended it as the gh from say toughmaking an f or ph sound to sound as fool, while referencing ghouls from fallout... Am I right? I love clever word play in puns.

OT: While an interesting concept, and a worthwhile thing to pursue testing on, I think it's still too early to call it completely accurate, need more example games, more test subjects, larger test groups.

Grouchy Imp:

Mr.Tea:

Xan Krieger:
Question: What happens if I'm in the mood to just murder people?

KoudelkaMorgan:
derpsnip

The same could be said of any test then: "I'll just answer randomly. Your test sucks. Can't evaluate a dissentious individual such as I, huh? I'm so fucking cool and rebellious! Fuck science!"

The point is that it requires your participation. It's not "Play this game for fun and I'll tell you who you are", it's "Here's a virtual scenario and what would you do?".

The problem you have with using a role-playing game to measure personality is that people will be, er, role-playing. They're not reacting to a situation how they would, they're reacting how their character would. A kind and considerate person role-playing a trigger-happy merc will come across as a bit of a heartless bastard because they're playing the part of one - kinda the whole point of a role-playing game.

I suppose the test could achieve some half-way meaningful results if the players were all expressly told to just be themselves, but that defeats the point of an RPG, surely? In the same way that an actor is acting when they're playing a part but not acting when they're just being themselves, a player is only role-playing when they're, well, playing a role. Giving someone an RPG and telling them expressly not to RP seems a bit daft.

Or a new and more useful way to use RPGs. Just name all their characters Mary Sue :D

No seriously, I think most people can't actually role play. They play the character, but really they're expressing their own choices in situations, not actually thinking about their character's motivations. I think you can tell it's happening when people are saying "I" will go do something in a game, instead of "he" or "she".

Also, I think this is pretty much an interactive version of the Bartle gamer test, which I find to be an excellent way to predict behavior. I'm an ESAK and while these people have not officially taken the test, I'd bet my best friend is an ASKE and my nephew a KASE. When I use that knowledge in my interactions with them, it's much easier to work in my own goals.

the more games I play the more I'm starting to see a pattern in my characters. apparently I am inherently good at heart, but don't pull my punches when I'm set off. I'm okay with authority as long as we largely ignore one another lol

Legion:
Got to love all the people who gave all the predictable "Well it's wrong because I do X, when in real life I'd do Y", when the study wasn't talking about specific actions such as moral choices. Rather how you play the game.

There are some people who explore every single room in a place and loot every chest. There are some who don't bother exploring and instead only stick to the main tasks. There are some who skip dialogue and others who go out of their way to read it all.

Those are the kind of things they are looking at. Not "Blowing up Megaton makes you a psychopath".

And the study only picked people who had never played Fallout 3. He consciously eliminated those who had in an effort to confirm his theory. Also it didn't say if he chose people who identified themselves as gamers or not. While this study may help to determine behaviour among non-gamers the question remains if it will be as accurate with gamers and which gamers.

A gamer may be more meticulous in his play style than he/she is in real-life. Also if the person has already played the game, they'll skip unnecessary dialogue and cut through the game faster having already learned the story. A gamers' play style may change depending if they've played before or if certain aspects are more appealing. Example: they may normally rush through a game but if the story attracts them they'll take their time and seek out everything in the world.

I think he should choose a game with a single concrete goal and conclusion but an open world like Hitman. No matter what their personality the person still has to kill their target, how they do so would be a better indicator in my opinion. Do they run through the level firing wildly, do they sit and wait for the perfect opportunity, do they seek out disguises and plan ingress and exit strategies, do they avoid large crowds and people even if its their best option for completion?

At least with something like that you won't have people saying "we'll i'm a dick in the game but a saint in real life." There's no option to be good or evil, just different ways and play styles to complete your goal.

Grouchy Imp:

Mr.Tea:

Xan Krieger:
Question: What happens if I'm in the mood to just murder people?

KoudelkaMorgan:
derpsnip

The same could be said of any test then: "I'll just answer randomly. Your test sucks. Can't evaluate a dissentious individual such as I, huh? I'm so fucking cool and rebellious! Fuck science!"

The point is that it requires your participation. It's not "Play this game for fun and I'll tell you who you are", it's "Here's a virtual scenario and what would you do?".

The problem you have with using a role-playing game to measure personality is that people will be, er, role-playing. They're not reacting to a situation how they would, they're reacting how their character would. A kind and considerate person role-playing a trigger-happy merc will come across as a bit of a heartless bastard because they're playing the part of one - kinda the whole point of a role-playing game.

I suppose the test could achieve some half-way meaningful results if the players were all expressly told to just be themselves, but that defeats the point of an RPG, surely? In the same way that an actor is acting when they're playing a part but not acting when they're just being themselves, a player is only role-playing when they're, well, playing a role. Giving someone an RPG and telling them expressly not to RP seems a bit daft.

Uh....actually I kind of do. Kind of the point,really. I'm a nice guy,and want to help others,so I usually do the good guy path,jedi,paragon,what have you.

GamerMage:

Grouchy Imp:

Mr.Tea:

The same could be said of any test then: "I'll just answer randomly. Your test sucks. Can't evaluate a dissentious individual such as I, huh? I'm so fucking cool and rebellious! Fuck science!"

The point is that it requires your participation. It's not "Play this game for fun and I'll tell you who you are", it's "Here's a virtual scenario and what would you do?".

The problem you have with using a role-playing game to measure personality is that people will be, er, role-playing. They're not reacting to a situation how they would, they're reacting how their character would. A kind and considerate person role-playing a trigger-happy merc will come across as a bit of a heartless bastard because they're playing the part of one - kinda the whole point of a role-playing game.
I suppose the test could achieve some half-way meaningful results if the players were all expressly told to just be themselves, but that defeats the point of an RPG, surely? In the same way that an actor is acting when they're playing a part but not acting when they're just being themselves, a player is only role-playing when they're, well, playing a role. Giving someone an RPG and telling them expressly not to RP seems a bit daft.

Not really. Yes, you CAN do that,but whether you want to admit it or not,there's a part of your subconcious that wants to act like that. I try to play the hero. Kind of the point,really. I'm a nice guy,and want to help others,so I usually do the good guy path,jedi,paragon,what have you. Granted,I'll also have Renegade in my character as well,but that's just how some are. You want to slaghter the town people including the very doctor that saved your life,fine. I won't begrudge you for it.

What people seem to be ignoring is the fact that in Real Life, one is also role-playing. We adopt personas or social masks, depending on the task at hand and who one is with. The interesting thing about this test is that it allows for testing that's more analogous to real life, while retaining the anonymity element that comes from standard testing. And part of the point is that one assumes that it is assumed you aren't trying to fuck with game/test constraints. It's following what you would naturally do as a person, pretending the scenario is real.

w00tage:

Grouchy Imp:

Mr.Tea:
>snip<

>snip<

Or a new and more useful way to use RPGs. Just name all their characters Mary Sue :D

No seriously, I think most people can't actually role play. They play the character, but really they're expressing their own choices in situations, not actually thinking about their character's motivations. I think you can tell it's happening when people are saying "I" will go do something in a game, instead of "he" or "she".

Also, I think this is pretty much an interactive version of the Bartle gamer test, which I find to be an excellent way to predict behavior. I'm an ESAK and while these people have not officially taken the test, I'd bet my best friend is an ASKE and my nephew a KASE. When I use that knowledge in my interactions with them, it's much easier to work in my own goals.

Yeah, the Bartle test is quite a good way of getting a read on peoples' priorities. Certainly it helps when forming parties/guilds/clans etc to make sure you're bringing in people who are going to appreciate the way you play any given game. I know a couple of KASEs and whilst they're both good friends they do get kind of tiresome if we're in the same lobby (and they probably think the same of me - ESAK here too, by the way).

I think a lot of roleplayers start out simply transferring their own personality onto a blank avatar at first. Certainly it's an easier concept to grasp for people new to RPGs than the creation and control of entirely new psyches, but after a couple of years playing essentially the same character but in various games I tend to find that people will either a) get bored of RP and go and find something else to do or b) get bored of always being themselves and create new personas for their characters. There are always exceptions, of course, but most of the players I've RPed with over the years have gone one of those two ways.

GamerMage:
Uh....actually I kind of do. Kind of the point,really. I'm a nice guy,and want to help others,so I usually do the good guy path,jedi,paragon,what have you.

Don't worry, I won't hold it against you. :D

Hey, I have a great idea! Why don't companies have such games upload the personality information garnered from a playthrough to a central server, so they can sell that information to advertisers who can use it to more effectively target their advertising?

And by "a great idea" I of course mean, "Please, for the love of God, don't ever, ever let them do this."

As in all things the more effort you put into something, the more you get out of it. Play as yourself instead of a fictional avatar wielding a handy save button: better results. Take the limits of the test into account: better results. Reflect upon what you know about yourself and compare the test to previous experiences...well you get the picture.

Personality tests are only a tool, not the answer. In the end, only you know you the best and even then you can't be 100% sure of anything until you've been in the situation with your real-life future at stake.

That being said, meta-analysis can be useful or at least interesting. Don't look at whether the data fits your spectrum of results but what patterns the raw data shows. Do you explore a lot? Do you talk to people a lot? Do you solve problems with aggression more often than not? The best thing to do is to answer these questions as you play by yourself with as few expectations as possible and draw your own conclusions.

In short: want a fair assessment? Do it yourself.

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