Playing as Black: Avatar Race Affects White Video Game Players

Jeff Grabmeier, Medical Xpress, March 21, 2014

What happens when white video game players see themselves as black characters in a violent game?

A new study suggests some disturbing answers: It makes the white players act more aggressively after the game is over, have stronger explicit negative attitudes toward blacks and display stronger implicit attitudes linking blacks to weapons.

These results are the first to link avatar race in violent video games to later aggression, said Brad Bushman, co-author of the study and professor of communication and psychology at The Ohio State University.


“Playing a violent video game as a black character reinforces harmful stereotypes that blacks are violent,” Bushman said.

“We found there are real consequences to having these stereotypes–it can lead to more aggressive behavior.”

The results appear online in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Scienceand will be published in a future print edition.

The study involved two related experiments. In the first, 126 white university students (60 percent males) played the violent game Saints Row 2. They were randomly assigned to play the game either as a black or white male avatar.

Before the participants arrived, the researchers set up the game with the black or white avatar and rotated the game view so that the avatar was visible to the participant when he or she started playing.

The participants were assigned to play with a violent goal (break out of prison) or a nonviolent goal (find a chapel somewhere in the city without harming others).

Afterward, those who played with the violent goal and as a black avatar showed stronger explicit negative attitudes toward blacks than did those who played as a white avatar. For example, those who played as a black avatar were more likely to agree with the statement “It’s really a matter of some people not trying hard enough; if blacks would only try harder they could be just as well off as whites.”

But the negative attitudes weren’t just explicit. All participants took the Implicit Association Test (IAT), which is designed to reveal unconscious bias. During this test, researchers measure how quickly participants link a white or black face with a “good” word (joy, love, peace) or a “bad” word (terrible, horrible, evil). {snip}

Results showed that participants who played the violent version of the game as a black avatar were more likely to associate black faces with negative words on the IAT than were those who played as a white avatar.


This stereotype can affect people’s actions, as found in the second experiment.

In this study, 141 white college students (65 percent female) played one of two violent games: WWE Smackdown vs. RAW 2010 or Fight Night Round 4. These games both used a third-person perspective, allowing the player to see his or her avatar’s race throughout the game.

Again, participants were assigned to play as a black or a white avatar. After playing, the participants completed another version of the IAT, which took an implicit measure of the stereotype that blacks are violent. In this version, photos of black and white male and female faces were paired with photos of weapons or harmless objects like a cell phone or camera.

The students who played the game as a black avatar were more likely to associate black faces with weapons than were students who played as a white avatar.

But this study went further by finding that participants who played a violent game as a black avatar acted more aggressively against a partner than did those who played as a white avatar.

This part of the study involved a test that researchers have used since 1999 to measure aggression. Participants had the opportunity to force an unseen partner (who didn’t actually exist) to eat hot sauce after the partner revealed that he or she strongly disliked spicy food.

Those who played the violent game as a black avatar gave their partner 115 percent more hot sauce than did those who played as a white avatar.

In a statistical analysis, Bushman found that participants’ implicit attitudes that blacks are violent was linked to their actual aggressive behavior after the game was turned off.

“This suggests that playing a violent video game as a black avatar strengthens players’ attitudes that blacks are violent, which then influences them to behave more aggressively afterward,” he said.

Bushman noted that this study shows that it doesn’t always help white people to take the perspective of a black person.

“Usually, taking the perspective of a minority person is seen as a good thing, as a way to evoke empathy,” Bushman said. “But if white people are fed a media diet that shows blacks as violent, they don’t have a realistic view of black people. It isn’t good to put yourself in the shoes of a murderer, as you do in many of these violent games.”


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  • MekongDelta69

    Actually, it’s the other way around.

    You might want to check the FBI Crime Stats. Black males (6.5% of the population) commit almost 50% of the crime, aided, abetted, and encouraged by this black, muslim, marxist dictator, his anti-white puppet at the DOJ, and the entire regime.

    Besides, this is a ‘study’ by the Social Psychological and Personality Science ‘Departments’ from two well known anti-white institutes of higher indoctrinationa and brainwashing.

    Biased much?!!

    • r j p

      Actually it is black males aged 12 to 40 that commit most of the crime.
      So now we are down below 2% of the population committing more than 50% of all crime.

  • ncpride

    “Playing a violent video game as a black character reinforces harmful stereotypes that blacks are violent,” Bushman said.

    Sure, because it couldn’t possibly be the actual brutal violence blacks commit in real life everyday. What a load of hogwash. Good grief.

  • sbuffalonative

    IF you want to join a hot discussion before it’s terminated, google:

    CBS, Study: Violent Video Games Encourage Racist, Aggressive Attitudes Toward Blacks

    • 1stworlder

      thanks for the heads up
      Being around real life blacks promotes stereotypes not supported by blacks in ADs and fictional TV. I knew a black doctor that malpracticed himself to death but never meet one as smart as seen on fictional TV

      • itdoesnotmatter

        On the Cleveland CBS site, I upvoted your post, 1st.
        The comments are running 99% race realist. People are fed up.

        • I’m very happy to hear that.

        • SoulInvictus

          It usually trends that way.
          You have to consider who the biggest demographic is going to be for
          A. News
          B. Online
          C. Politics

          Even on lefty sites, all it takes is framing your thoughts the right way and you get support because of this.
          It’s the same reason talk radio caters almost exclusively to this same audience while Air America tanked and NPR grovels for donations.
          Women and minorities are a miniscule fraction of their market.

          • itdoesnotmatter

            Yahoo comments are running fed up too, Soul.
            You should see some of the unmoderated race realistic posts I put up and about these kinds of things.
            It is a good sign that they are not only left intact, but score several upvotes and affirming follow-ups.

          • SoulInvictus

            The internet is largely a white male audience. Their left leaning is mostly just social acceptance based. A little push and their natural predispositions come out.

            “Guns are bad.”
            “Don’t you want to be able to shoot someone in the face if they break into your home?”
            “Then probably a good idea to support gun rights and just focus on keeping them out of the hands of felons huh?”
            “Yeah, you’ve got a point.”

            “Black people are so oppressed.”
            “You ever live in the hood, would you?”
            “Hell no.”
            “Then probably not a great idea to force that element onto good communities huh?”
            “You’ve got a point.”

            The above being how pretty much any interaction I’ve ever had goes on lefty forums.

          • Hallie Eva [formerly IDNM]

            On HuffPo, post a comment about your wish to retain firearms to defend yourself against home invasion, the usual answer from most:
            “you will be shot with your own gun, you fool.”

          • SoulInvictus

            Then ask them if they support an individual’s right to euthanasia.
            To which they’ll always say yes.
            Then we’re both happy since I want to go out like Hemingway.

            I’ll never understand a feminist (many of HuffPo’s readership) being anti-gun, anti-concealed carry.
            It’s the only thing in the world that neutralizes an attacker’s hundred pound and greater upper body strength advantages.
            Anti-gunners are pro-rape.
            I drop that on them and they never know what to say.
            When I tell them both of my daughters will be well trained with a firearm and safer than theirs because of it, they really don’t know what to say.
            Pro-gun people are all anti-women knuckledraggers after all right.

          • Hallie Eva [formerly IDNM]

            I rarely visit lefty forums.
            If needing an aggravation “fix,” HuffPo is it, aggravation to the nth degree. Do not enjoy arguing with troglodytes, so make my comments, defend once or twice, then fold if discoursing with one who is resolutely thick.
            Amazingly, I have several fans who share our world view.

            Your ripostes are wonderfully confrontational and sneakily snide, right on the money. Mind if I copy them?

          • SoulInvictus

            Please do. If it manages to bring the dark enlightenment of a few, that would be rewarding. I kind of gave up when I got banned for talking about Constitutional freedoms. That was just a bridge too far for me.

            Gun rights was a topic I could almost always find or convince an ally easily in those forums. It is the US, and as we were discussing, it is largely a white male audience. Though God help them if it was a female gun owner because they wisely know that loss of gun rights is disproportionately costly to their safety.

            Race and culture issues were another story. Usually people could see the common sense when anti-white racism was blatant if it was framed the right way. Just as often not, they’re just too sold into the evil white patriarchy ideals.
            Instead of commenting, sometimes I would just post a link to a particularly damning youtube clip. Muslims stoning Christians in Dearborn, Michigan (which only got covered by Canadian media), Black mob violence, news reports of deceived fathers being forced by courts to continue paying child support for children proved by DNA not to be theirs, that kind of thing.
            It’s fun to watch them try to explain away reality rather than argue hypotheticals and philosophy.

          • Hallie Eva [formerly IDNM]

            Thank you, SoulInvictus, I shall dessiminate your good words.
            Just visited the SPLC site to check if the Pentagon is really using their hate group list as a guide for armed forces enlistees. They seem to be doing just that.
            Good news; AmRen made the list as an official White nationalist hate group!! I am so proud.
            The author panned JT, our comments, calling them hate covered in our “intellectual, high falutin’ language” that does not resort to slurs and coarse language.
            The hate crimes listed are essentially all White on black, or White on Semite, or LGBT spaghetti sexuality. Their rogues’ gallery of hate criminals was of course, all White.

          • SoulInvictus

            ” AmRen made the list as an official White nationalist hate group!!”
            I honestly don’t know why. I see you’re following me now. Feel free to look through my old posts and you’ll find my email address.

          • Hallie Eva

            Thanks, SI, I shall take a look at your posts. Mine are accessible as well.
            Yes, AmRen has made the SPLC official hate list. Not only the website, our esteemed authors are mentioned by name as inciters of racial hatred.
            Mr. Taylor and others in our camp dare to cite the evidence that DNA, not slavery, poverty, segregation, oppression, prejudice, poor schools, lack of opportunity nor access to services explains achievement differences between black, brown, and White races.
            In the eyes of the deluded, this is HATRED.
            Ergo, AmRen is on their hit list for speaking an inconvenient truth.

  • White gamers notice things.

    Which means noticing things might well be this year’s hot trend. One that hopefully lasts longer than Whoopa Gangnam Style.

  • D.B. Cooper

    What a load of horse manure! First of all, most white people won’t play a black character unless it’s no choice like Dead Island, where the black guy specializes in blunt weapons.
    Let’s see, over the years, I’ve played as white guys, black guys, Hispanic guys, Asian guys, Arabs, girls, aliens, robots, and animals. I’ve been as violent as ever, no matter what I play as. Gosh, could that be a reason why I’m on Amren?
    I blame Scorpion. He is responsible for the vast majority of my video game murders. It, it, it’s all Scorpion’s fault!

    • So CAL Snowman


    • Ron Cheaters

      In GTAV no-one I know wants to play as the black Franklin. Even though he has a monopoly on the missions and special perks. He’s a boring character.
      Everyone I know loves the crazy-white-trailer-home-living Trevor. Because he’s way more fun.
      I’ve never felt angry or violent after playing a video game.. many times I have before playing a game. But not after.

      • mikey7777

        what I love is how GTA is BLACK CULTURE in a game….

    • SoulInvictus

      Don’t be anti-Scorpion-American.
      “Get ovvvver here!” 😉

  • GenX Antipodean

    Over the years there have been so many stories about not enough video game characters ‘of color’, now they get them, there’s still righteous whining.
    Why do we bother caring, as we continually get nothing back for our troubles.

    With race, it’s always the same outcome, “damned if you do, damned if don’t”.
    Keep it up minorities and enablers, because the more you whine, the less we care.

    • GenX Antipodean

      The joke is that, a lot of this kissing of minority backsides is about buttering up future “emerging markets”.
      Our business and political leaders would throw all of us Whites on the funeral pyre, just to get a chance of getting a piece of the over breeding, brown dollar.

      Pretending that’s it’s all about ‘culture’ (oppressing and rebranding local culture, at the expense of foreign cultures) is just adding insult to injury.
      If a buck could be made from White separatism, it’d be the flavor of the day.
      Greed and disloyalty is our undoing.

      • Anon

        That’s an interesting lie. Let’s assume it’s true. Then it would mean our elites are so stupid they don’t understand that money isn’t real. It’s only power is the willingness of people to own up to their debts, work together and exchange behaviors in a fair and balanced way in a system everyone trusts (even if the only thing they trust about it is someone will cut the head off people who get out of line). That situation exists to a great degree in every white population, to a far lesser degree in non-white, non-black populations and is not only completely missing in black populations but the people there destroy all hallmarks of collective effort. Build a railroad in a black country and every black will come by at some point and steal a nail until the train crashes.
        If those who run our economy don’t get that, they won’t be running our economy much longer. Realistically though, they get that. They love their money and today’s rich person is far more ruthless than any king, warlord or pirate of old.
        This isn’t about money…nor is it even about power exactly. More like a cultish religion that has gotten out of hand. People believing their own bullshit. But, as I said, these people love their money and the only worth their money has is the slice of WHITE civilization it entitles them to.
        There is no such thing as an “emerging market”. Only a temporary lack of understanding that labor and wealth are the same thing. And not all labor is created equally. I’m sure they would love a plantation of stupid, docile, brown slaves catering to their every whim, while keeping their mouths firmly shut. There’s two problems with that. The first is ONLY whites provide the sort of labor, society, lifestyle etc. these people are accustomed to. The second is ONLY whites give them the respect, position, behaviors and treatment they are accustomed to. They have temporarily forgotten there is only one world….the WHITE world. All else is scum and villainy. Blacks, left too long to go feral, will burn down their world and toss them on the cannibal’s barbecue. Long before that, they will bankrupt them.
        Non-whites are a burden…not money in their pocket….even if overt slaves.

  • …harmful stereotypes…”
    Stereotypes are valid when they are grounded in reality. Blacks are what…7 to 10 times more violent than whites, as measured by crime rates.

    This study is bull. The prof needed a publication to get a raise and he pulled one from where the sun never shines.

  • Truthseeker

    Another study conducted with the specific intent to get the result “white people are evil bigots whose violent tendencies toward those of other races are always lurking beneath the surface.” Notice they didn’t do this experiment with gamers of any other race. Why? Because they probably would’ve gotten the same result, and then they couldn’t single out whites as the bad guys.

    • Ron Cheaters

      Good observation

  • JohnEngelman

    “Playing a violent video game as a black character reinforces harmful stereotypes that blacks are violent,” Bushman said.

    – Jeff Grabmeier, Medical Xpress, March 21, 2014

    The stereotype is actually helpful. Keeping it in mind can save your life.

  • LovelyNordicHeidi

    “Playing a violent video game as a black character reinforces harmful stereotypes that blacks are violent,” Bushman said.
    No, it enforces stereotypes that might just save your life.

    • LovelyNordicHeidi


  • Frank_DeScushin

    If whites never chose black avatars a study would conclude it’s because of racism. Racism lurks behind any decision whites make according to most of these “studies”.

    • Einsatzgrenadier

      Blacks and their white liberal apologists say that racism is like the law of the conservation of energy in physics: it can neither be created nor destroyed, but must always come back as something else. This means that all white behavior will forever be motivated by racism. Racism can never be eradicated, because if it ever was, there would be no more affirmative action and well-paid government jobs promoting diversity in the workforce. Even if whites disappeared tomorrow, there would still be white racism, which would live on in its cultural, institutional and symbolic forms.

      • MBlanc46

        Nice analogy.

    • Martel

      You seem to dislike this article. You shouldn’t. All research which makes silly claims about white racial bias help to build the case of any race realist.

  • dd121

    You don’t have to imagine anything about blacks. We all KNOW what they are.

  • Sangraal

    Is this psychologist black himself? If so, his surname is hilarious.

  • Blacks committing violence in video games? If only that all it were…

  • slash345

    I’m a die hard gamer. Been that way my whole life.

    Video games has 0% effect on my personal views of the world around me.

    This is a lame excuse to explain increasing aggressive behaviour toward blacks. They are looking for any reason they can to blame racism on ANYTHING they can.

    No. People like me hate the sh*t out of blacks because they’re savage apes who are ON A GENETIC LEVEL incapable of living in a civil f*cking society.

    Blacks are also getting to damn close to white society. They need to back off.

    • Martel

      No, it is another article you can mention to inform people that its incredibly difficult to sustain a multi-ethnic society. I like this article very much, I care little if gaming influences people, as long as other people think so it helps to build my case.

  • Martel

    Another article which is added to a vast library of research discrediting the notion that a succesful multi-ethnic society is even a remote possibility. A thank you to our blissfully unaware friends in this research department.

  • The only time I have ever played an online game as something other than a human, elf or half-elf was as Ungingurz, a hobgoblin fighter-assassin in Neverwinter Nights. He is about seven feet tall, has long black hair, rust-red skin, and yellow tusks. He does the “slashing and bashing” thing quite well, but is stealthy and good with traps as well as the occasional prohibited magical device. The people with whom we were playing all wanted to be spellcasters, so I got the the job as the grunt. If you want something sneaked up upon and then dead “devastating critical hit” with extra “death attack” damage, Ungingurz was the right guy… er… critter.

  • jim b

    Where is the money coming from to support these studies? I would like to know who is funding them…..

    • Where is the money coming from?

      You get “us”, “us” or “us” from which to choose.

      • itdoesnotmatter

        I’ll take “us” for one large, Michael.

  • italian guy

    They should make a study about “magic negro” characters that ruin good video games stories, they are always geniuses, morally superior and loved by all other characters… of course in reality they are far different.

  • MBlanc46

    You’ve really got to stay up late in order to think up new “studies” that slander whites.

  • Anon

    I’m not sure what to say. As an active gamer….particularly in various MMO games, it’s almost unheard of for a player, even a black player, to play a black person. If they want to be disturbed by something, be disturbed by that. When blacks see themselves as heroic, they cast themselves as white, not black….ever. Similar to how little black girls inevitably, want to play with the white dolls.
    And why should they. White people dream of ending villainy and helping others. You know how blacks with power react when confronted by villainy? Here is an example. Catholic Charities has various training for those who work in Africa and the third world and warn its members about the universal response when black authorities are shown black children suffering, as the charity asks for help…..uproarious laughter. Which is the very least of how sick and degenerate it is to be black. A better example is how one warlord was felt he wasn’t able to steal enough white aid money… he sent his soldiers out to grab as many children as possible and hack off one of their arms with a machete. This was extremely effective and soon, white aid workers were flowing into his region and paying hefty bribes to be allowed to help people (which is how aid in Africa works). What was the response of the people who lived there? Were they angry their children had their arms hacked off? Hell no. They are HAPPY and PROUD that they had such a clever leader who brought white people there so they could all take advantage of them. That more than anything is a good description of what it means to be black.
    I’m surprised more blacks don’t commit suicide. Then again, you have to care for it to matter. Monsters don’t care. That’s what makes them monsters.

  • You’ve got to love it when Blacks say that Whites can’t dance.

    EXCUSE ME!!!

    • Thanks. I’ve been making that argument all my life. Black dancing is tribal garbage.

  • “Those who played the violent game as a black avatar gave their partner 115 percent more hot sauce than did those who played as a white avatar.”

    That sentence made this article worth my time.

  • Bob

    Ridiculous study after ridiculous study. It’s a good thing there are so many bs “black studies” degrees offered in colleges today or we wouldn’t be privy to this wealth of knowledge of such important discoveries.

  • SoulInvictus

    “Playing a violent video game as a black character reinforces harmful stereotypes that blacks are violent,” Bushman said.”

    Bwahahahahaha… lol….lololol…..
    whew (wipes brow)… thanks for that.

  • IKE

    There is a reason for everything . . and, if after you
    use a black avatar and you distrust blacks more . . . .then go with it ..

  • IKE

    One of my favorite avatars
    to use is this one, It scares the
    hell out of anyone who sees it . .

    • Bad hair day?

      • itdoesnotmatter

        A black woman said to me some time ago, “when you are black, every day is a bad hair day.”

  • bubo

    I don’t have to explain this here, but just because something might be considered a stereotype doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

    Blacks are the most violent race in this country by far by any measure available. End of story.

  • wildfirexx

    I agree…but I also believe it’s a natural, if not tribal instinct to feel threatened more by someone outside their racial group. I also think that’s just the way our minds are hardwired when it comes to White or Black, and Day or Night!
    Of course, don’t be surprized if the liberal media tries to change that too!

  • wildfirexx

    Apparently, it doesn’t work the same in white society anymore…when choosing a President!

  • JackKrak

    I must admit that after fending off attacks from zombies for hours, I definitely have a more negative attitude towards zombies and their tendency to employ violent tactics in an effort to eat my brains.

    Guilty as charged – well done, Ohio State University!!!!

  • DiversityIsDeath

    “But if white people are fed a media diet that shows blacks as violent, they don’t have a realistic view of black people.” — Brad Bushman, co-author of the study and professor of communication and psychology at The Ohio State University.

    What planet is this professor Bushman on? Why does he assume that white people get their ideas of negroes from the media? Doesn’t he realize that in our wonderfully diverse society white people actually have up close and personal interaction with blacks whether they want to or not? And that white people formulate their opinions of blacks from personal experience and not from television?

  • Alexandra1973

    I don’t play that kind of game, just simulation games…for Sims 2 and 3 I delete any and all black Sims in any neighborhood/world I play.

    The funny thing is, in the game, it literally is just skin color…but I’m not taking any chances!

    I have a mod in place for 3 where I can set the chance any Sim becomes gay/bi (both of which I set to 0), I just wish there was one that determines how dark the skin color can go. LOL

    As I like to say on the Mod the Sims forum–my game, my rules.

    Now with that being said…I bet most people, tacitly, admit that blacks are more violent…but they do a self-check. “Can’t have those kinds of thoughts!”

    They know what the problem is but refuse to put their finger on it.

  • Jon Doe

    Maybe this is a sign that things are not as bad as it seems, “they” push their Agenda, censor our second Amendment, restrict our rights, attack us at every sign of resistance but the proof is here. People show “tolerance” and “open minded” but our kids deep down know what the deal is. This is good thing, “they” try to hide the truth, as adults we know the Agenda and apparently our children does too. yay!

  • me

    You have got to be effin’ kidding me….I didn’t know scientists trolled. Bushman is either a non-goy, a Bantu, or mentally deranged–or all three. Anti-White, unscientific propaganda and balderdash! It never ends, does it?

  • I always beat everybody by spamming the leg sweep-uppercut combination. I was UNSTOPPABLE!!! Mwahahaha.

  • The black superheroes were always really lame. I remember being annoyed by it even when I was 9 and 10.

    • Hallie Eva [formerly IDNM]

      The new Spiderman is a black guy.

  • mikey7777

    lmfao!! white kids are all acting like black thugs nowadays….where the hell have you been…..that’s all you see….the media glorifies black degenrate thug behavior,defends black thug losers like trayvon “sir skittles” martin….white kids emulating black criminal violent hip hop rap thug hoodie wearin culture….and you think it’s video games and white kids being black characters..lmfao!!…go to world star hip hop and watch all your black pets in action….then watch how all the white kids are dressing and acting out like black thug gangbangin wannabes…you know because if they don’t and you say something about it “you be rayciss’ gnome sayin”

  • mikey7777

    by the way the funniest was when blacks were screaming about the Black zombies in RESIDENT EVIL….that was hilarious…

  • The Final Solution

    Yes it is fun to play games pretending to be black, with avatar names like Uncle Tom, Black Dynamite, Y’all Trippin, Got Chicken? and Nigga Please. Because no one can take blacks seriously. I’m still waiting for a first person shooter or RPG where you play as the Germans conquering the world and blasting non-whites back to hell. To hell with that Jew BJ Blaskowitz, I want to play as Erwin Rommel unleashing to blitzkrieg on Europe and Africa.

    • Hallie Eva [formerly IDNM]

      F.M. Rommel is an iconic figure. My German ex is besotted with his memory.
      Poor Irwin had a paralyzing depressive episode while fighting Monty in the desert. Outrun supply lines, depleted infantry, ordered to never retreat, who would not collapse? He was called home.
      Keep that in mind as you charge up and down the dunes, Final. Pace yourself. ;]