Ethical Behaviour and Moral Decision Making within Virtual Worlds

Smith, Thomas (2019) Ethical Behaviour and Moral Decision Making within Virtual Worlds. MRes thesis, University of Lincoln.

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Ethical Behaviour and Moral Decision Making within Virtual Worlds
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Item Type:Thesis (MRes)
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Abstract

This thesis explores how immersion in a virtual world (video games and virtual
reality) affects moral decision making. In this work, two studies were conducted
to explore the effects of each of these virtual worlds.
To explore the effects of immersion in video games, participants were given one of
two surveys. One survey focused on their personal moral decision making, and
the other focused on their video game characters moral decision making. Little
difference was seen between the choices in each survey, saving the majority was
the most significant and common choice made, and the immersion of their video
game characters proved to have no effect on their moral decision making. This
suggests the immersion as their characters has no affect on their moral decision
making within hypothetical moral dilemmas.
To explore the effects of immersion in virtual reality, two well-known moral
dilemmas known as the “Trolley Problem” and the “Fat Man Problem” were
recreated for the study, and contained several variations. A variety of factors that
may influence the moral decision making were considered, such as the characters
used in the dilemmas, gender differences, involvement and more. A majority of
participants made similar choices throughout the “Trolley Problem” with slight
variations seen in the “Fat Man Problem”. The driving factor for these moral
decisions appeared to be the character involved and the individuals attitude
towards the simulation.
The main difference found throughout these studies was between the choices made
in hypothetical dilemmas (first study) and practical dilemmas (second study),
due to the level of immersion, involvement, and attitudes of the participants.

Subjects:G Mathematical and Computer Sciences > G400 Computer Science
Divisions:College of Science > School of Computer Science
ID Code:38918
Deposited On:18 Nov 2019 13:33

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