The effects of social exclusion on play experience and hostile cognitions in digital games

Max V. Birk, Benjamin Buttlar, Jason T. Bowey, Susanne Poeller, Shelby C. Thomson, Nicola Baumann, Regan L. Mandryk

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


The social nature of multiplayer games provides compelling play experiences that are dynamic, unpredictable, and satisfying; however, playing digital games with others can result in feeling socially excluded. There are several known harmful effects of ostracism, including on cognition and the interpretation of social information. To investigate the effects of social exclusion in the context of a multiplayer game, we developed and validated a social exclusion paradigm that we embedded in an online game. Called Operator Challenge, our paradigm influenced feelings of social exclusion and access to hostile cognitions (measured through a word-completion task). In addition, the degree of experienced belonging predicted player enjoyment, effort, and the number of hostile words completed; however, the experience measures did not mediate the relationship between belonging and access to hostile cognitions. Our work facilitates understanding the causes and effects of exclusion, which is important for the study of player experience in multiplayer games.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI '16 : Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-3362-7
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

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