This survey investigated the effect of having multiple and crossed social identities on the relationship between ingroup commitment and intergroup bias in a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). The survey involved 315 World of Warcraft players, who were asked to indicate the faction to whom their main avatar belonged and how many of their non-main avatars (alts) belonged to the same or to the other faction. Commitment to the faction of the main avatar, and faction (ingroup) over other faction (outgroup) favouritism were evaluated. Results confirmed that faction commitment increased bias against the outgroup faction. The number of alts belonging to the other faction moderated the relationship between faction commitment and intergroup bias, showing that faction commitment was more strongly associated with intergroup bias when the number of outgroup alts was low. Results are discussed in the light of social identity theory and of the role that multiple crossed social identities could have in preventing negative outcomes such as social discrimination and aggressive behaviours in MMORPGs, thus improving virtual community wellbeing.
How to reduce intergroup hostility in virtual contexts: The role of alts in decreasing intergroup bias in World of Warcraft / Mancini, Tiziana; Caricati, Luca; Balestrieri, Marco Francesco; Sibilla, Federica. - In: COMPUTERS IN HUMAN BEHAVIOR. - ISSN 0747-5632. - 83(2018), pp. 8-15. [10.1016/j.chb.2018.01.021]
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