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Koban, Kevin; Breuer, Johannes; Rieger, Diana; Mohseni, M. Rohangis; Noack, Stephanie; Bente, Gary and Ohler, Peter (2018): Playing for the thrill and skill. Quiz games as means for mood and competence repair. In: Media Psychology, Vol. 22, No. 5: pp. 743-768

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Recent studies have found that digital games can be used to improve the players’ mood, especially after emotionally unpleasant experiences. We introduce competence repair as an extension of previous work on mood repair. To investigate the effects of digital games on both mood and competence repair, we conducted 3 studies using quiz games. In the quasi-experimental Study 1 (N = 143), we manipulated the necessity for repair via a false feedback task (positive vs. negative), and looked at the impact of in-game success (victory vs. defeat). In the experimental Studies 2 (N = 91) and 3 (N = 109), we aimed at conceptually replicating and extending the findings on the impact of in-game success by varying participants’ success over a series of 4 matches (Study 2: close game outcomes, Study 3: clear victory/defeat). The results of these studies indicate that the efficacy of digital games for mood repair, as well as competence repair, depends on the necessity for repair, as well as success in the game. However, competence repair occurred even after participants were defeated repeatedly in a series of close matches. These results are discussed in light of the potential of digital games for fulfilling (previously thwarted) psychological needs.

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