Fill Out This DayZ Survey to Help a Study Funded by the National Science Foundation

A professor at Manhattan College is gathering information for a psychological study into the nature of online gaming.

Survival-horror game DayZ continually produces stories of camaraderie, betrayal, alliances, wars, and the struggle to live in a post-apocalyptic world. The narratives that arise simply from player interactions are so varied and intense, in fact, that Manhattan College has taken notice and secured funding from the National Science Foundation to conduct a study into player behavior in the game.

This week, a Manhattan College professor published a survey seeking information from DayZ players about their habits and experiences while playing the game. The study is funded by the NSF, which provides support for and leads studies in several different scientific areas. The information collected from this survey will help complete a larger, overarching study about the nature of online gaming. It is being led by Manhattan College professor of religious studies Robert Geraci.

"This survey is a part of research funded by the National Science Foundation to understand motivations for and outcomes from online game play," the survey's description states. "In particular, this survey inquires into player experiences in the survival horror game, DayZ."

Some of the questions inquire into personal reactions to playing the game, focusing on the psychological and sociological results of a high-stress game like DayZ. For example, the survey asks questions starting with, "When hunted by infected in DayZ, how frightened are you?" and ending with, "How does attacking other players affect your behavior in the real world?"

DayZ is currently in early access on PC, and developer Bohemia Interactive is continuing to implement significant changes. If you play DayZ, how do you react to in-game events? Let us know in the comments.

Alex Newhouse is an editorial intern at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @alexbnewhouse
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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22 comments
hystavito
hystavito

"The narratives that arise simply from player interactions are so varied and intense"

Is that really how it is though? :)


I often think yeahhh that would be cool, all the interesting interactions, social experimentsm etc.  Then when people actually play the reality is very different.  I played a lot of Rust and had dreams of people forming sort of societies, maybe forming towns, but almost every person I run into either attacks me instantly or runs away :).

jyml8582
jyml8582

When are they going to finish the game for real?

vibroknife
vibroknife

I took the test and answered honestly :D

rgeraci
rgeraci

thanks for noting our survey, everyone! there are, alas, lots of misunderstandings and errors here, however. first...the survey is part of research funded by my NSF grant (#1144028). it is not the organization, itself, that is conducting the research. in addition, i am actually a professor of religious studies. my research is, in loose terms, the anthropology of technology. the misunderstanding about who i am comes, i suppose, from someone noting that i am the author of a book about the religious connotations of popular science books about robotics and AI. 

for those worried that i'm out to attack gaming communities, you might note that i've published widely on this subject (including a recent book by oxford university press ... Virtually Sacred: Myth and Meaning in World of Warcraft and Second Life). i happen to be a lifelong gamer who survived the culture wars over Dungeons & Dragons. you don't really need to worry about my ulterior motives. our research aims to appreciate what people enjoy about a couple of survival/horror games and how those games might provide meaningful experiences for the players.

raptor1998
raptor1998

Help them study the nature of gaming? More like help them make gamers look like bloodthirsty savages just waiting to murder. But no seriously, hope this won't become one of those ''studies'' that make gamers look bad.

dominoodle
dominoodle

The problem with this is that killing players in DayZ has no consequences and killing people in real life does.


If you shoot another player in Dayz then you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.


I personally haven't attacked a player who did not attack me first, which usually results in me dying. Pretty sure i've never actually killed another player in DayZ. I wish there were more reason to work together in DayZ but as it is right now most people just shoot on sight.

jackzor123
jackzor123

I can save you some time, we're all violent psychopaths and have overwhelming desires to go on a rampage with firearms

thehollowones
thehollowones

The psychosis that goes into the actions and reactions of these kinds of survival games are actually very interesting. Why, in a game where zombies are defined by default as our enemies, in a game that has no clear cut objective, do we break down to our most base nature and begin to hunt people instead?


Think about that. This game has no objective but to survive, and yet in our ever incessant need for a goal, a challenge, competition, we needlessly go out of our ways to turn this survival into an arena death match and that is exactly what this game has been earmarked as ever since. You don't survive, you live long enough to gain the tools necessary to kill other players until you yourself, die. And then you start over.


The deaths and interactions themselves are varied and interesting. On one hand, a common interaction is merely to shoot on sight, hole up in your base and if you see someone, murder them. This plays off our primary fear of the unknown and how fear defines all our actions. We're afraid of losing our things, we're afraid of being set back in the game, so maybe that other player really does want to help you or team up, why take the chance and lose all your hard earned pixels? Another common interaction is playing the hunter, going out with the sole purpose of murdering other players. Because why not? There's no rules, there's no limits, there's no societal structure telling you that you can't, right? When humans get the chance to put themselves ahead, they'll do so. So then take their weapon, get their resources, why? So you can kill more people, of course. Wasn't that the point of this game? It must be.


In the end this game kind of supports the very pessimistic view on human nature that we are all rotten on the inside. When chaos and anarchy reign, we break down to our most base instincts and do anything and everything to put ourselves ahead first. We kill because we can, because there's no repercussions and by killing, we're rewarded with their things and a sense of safety knowing that a potential threat is no longer alive and thus encouraged to kill again. Without structure, order, or rules, you find out who you really are. Those with any semblance of a moral code strong enough to refuse hunting other people who do not attack you and even giving amnesty to strangers within killing range, are rare creatures. I should know, I'm one of those weak types who don't get far in these games because I do everything "fairly" and I know that is a self-inflicted burden and a rule in which I can not inflict or judge others with, I handicap myself willingly for the selfish reason of upholding an honor bound code, and people like me, were not made to survive under anarchy.

If this were closer to real world it would go something like this: Those who kill, will survive, but their humanity, will not.

DamnILoveGames
DamnILoveGames

I just hope they don't take the info and say 'By being violent in a violent game, this clearly shows they're dangerous people who've been poisoned by the satanic anti-christ known as 'gaming'.

hitomo
hitomo

its clearly a military research

Saidrex
Saidrex

Then they will take these results and sh*t all over gamers and gaming again. Violent games....blah blah blah...makes violent people blah blah blah.... we have proof, this scientific research - this survey online that is 100% accurate.

---

Funny that all studies have been based on surveys they took from people that played video games for few hours. Before study they take some people, tell (brainwash them) that this study is researching violent behaviour caused by video games, then after study they take a survey and people choose answers closest to what they are researching...hey they are paying might as well tell them what they want to hear.

punksterdaddy
punksterdaddy

@hystavito

I agree with you. It is attack or die mentality 95% of the time, the other 5% is hard to find, unless it is with friends.

rgeraci
rgeraci

thanks for making the corrections above!


DarkSaber2k
DarkSaber2k

@rgeraci "lots of misunderstandings and errors here" Bad journalism, poor research and lack of fact verification in a Gamespot news article? The hell you say!

dustin_neumann
dustin_neumann

@raptor1998 ", i am actually a professor of religious studies."    Should give you a hint as to what this will be.
I feel bad for giving suggestions now :/

vibroknife
vibroknife

@dominoodle Actually when you think about it the instances there are in DayZ almost mirror the kind of instances and how they would handle if our world did take place in DayZ's universe. By that I mean in terms of without law, killing someone doesn't haven't any consequences. Well, most of the time.

hitomo
hitomo

@thehollowones  keep in mind, you dont murder players in the game, you set their avatars back to square zero ... the real world is a constant struggle of different 'qualities', with the sole purpose of enhancment, wich leads to constant motion, or 'flow' ... physical death is the condition that enables life in return in this mechanism ... genetical evolution is the resulting form of enhancement,


in Opposition to an animal, a humans form is not definied by its bodyly appearence, but by the Imagination he can have/develop about himself ...


humans dont need to fight about preserving their genes anymore to enhance the species,

what defines mankind now and in future is the ideas we will have about ourselfs and our world/planet ...


non-primitive humans dont kill everybody who dont agree to them, first they will try to talk to him, manipulate him, what ever ... they will try to persude opponents and enemys ...


that games like this exist furthermore shows that humans are able to fully tranform conflicts wich have lead to physical death in the past, into abstract and intlectual 'debates', wich simulate or recreate real life situations in virtual worlds like here


its abstracted learning, on a mental plane, that eleminates the danger of being physicaly injured or killed ...


(this is already enhancment but also a form of over-specilisation, wich can lead to more development or disastrous set backs as well, depending on the enviornment)



justinhaywald
justinhaywald moderator staff

@rgeraci Thanks for reaching out! We also strive for accuracy in reporting, but we sometimes make mistakes. We'll always own up to those mistakes and try to learn from them, though.