Facial Features of Non-player Creatures Can Influence Moral Decisions in Video Games

Ylva Ferstl, Elena Kokkinara, Rachel Mcdonnell
2017 ACM Transactions on Applied Perception  
With the development of increasingly sophisticated computer graphics, there is a continuous growth of the variety and originality of virtual characters used in movies and games. So far however, their design has mostly been led by the artist's preferences, not by perceptual studies. In this paper, we explored how effective non-player character design can be used to influence gameplay. In particular, we focused on abstract virtual characters with few facial features. In experiment 1, we sought to
more » ... find rules for how to use a character's facial features to elicit the perception of certain personality traits, using prior findings for human face perception as a basis. In experiment 2, we then tested how perceived personality traits of a non-player character could influence a player's moral decisions in a video game. We found that the appearance of the character interacting with the subject modulated aggressive behavior towards a non-present individual. Our results provide us with a better understanding of the perception of abstract virtual characters, their employment in video games, as well as giving us some insights about the factors underlying aggressive behavior in video games. ACM Reference Format: Ylva Ferstl, Elena Kokkinara, and Rachel McDonnell. 2017. Facial features of non-player creatures can influence moral decisions in video games.
doi:10.1145/3129561 fatcat:aaj23kibbzd73c6bxqmky3m63m