Washington DC: What's in a name? According to a new study, it has more than you think.
In the case of the usernames of video gamers, a remarkable amount of information about their real world personalities can be revealed. Analysis of anonymised data from one of the world's most popular computer games by University of York scientists revealed information about their ages.
The developer of League of Legends, Riot Games provided 500,000 data points for the analysis. These anonymised data contained user names, information on the in-game behaviour of players and the reaction of other gamers - the latter from the post-match 'Honour' and 'Report' feedback each player can file.
The researchers found that where a player incorporated a profanity or other anti-social expression in their user name, they tended to adopt similar anti-social behaviour in the game environment. Conversely, they found that positive in-game behaviour such as rapid learning, team building or leadership might correlate both with positive usernames and with positive personality traits in the real world.
The psychologists also discovered that where numbers featured in user names, it often provided an indication of the age of players.
Professor Alex Wade said that this data is like a window on individual players' personalities so we believe that we might be able to use video games a way of testing people's personalities.
The researchers say that mining of video game data could become an important area of research into the personalities of players, as well as potentially providing evidence of clinical disorders such as autism, sociopathy or addictive personality.
The research is published in Computers in Human Behavior. (ANI)