Mirrored morality: an exploration of moral choice in video games

Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2012 Nov;15(11):610-4. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2012.0235. Epub 2012 Sep 27.


This exploratory study was designed to examine how players make moral choices in video games and what effects these choices have on emotional responses to the games. Participants (n=75) filled out a moral foundations questionnaire (MFQ) and then played through the first full act of the video game Fallout 3. Game play was recorded and content analyzed for the moral decisions made. Players also reported their enjoyment of and emotional reactions to the game and reflected on the decisions they made. The majority of players made moral decisions and behaved toward the nonplayer game characters they encountered as if these were actual interpersonal interactions. Individual differences in decision making were predicted by the MFQ. Behaving in antisocial ways did increase guilt, but had no impact on enjoyment.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / psychology
  • Choice Behavior*
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Morals*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Video Games / psychology*
  • Young Adult