Facilitating Game Play: How Others Affect Performance at and Enjoyment of Video Games

Nicholas David Bowman, Rene Weber, Ron Tamborini, John Sherry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


The current study implements the drive theory of social facilitation to explain the influence of audience presence in video game play. This integration is an important one for research aiming to understand the experience of video game play, as the social aspect of video game play is a relevant dimension of the technology often ignored in research on gaming experiences. The study finds a significant positive association between non-gaming cognitive abilities (such as hand-eye coordination and mental rotation ability) and performance at a first-person shooter. Data also support the social facilitation hypothesis: Game play in the presence of a physical audience significantly predicts increased game performance. Social facilitation effects are only found for low-challenge games where the drive-inducing capacity of task challenge is minimized. Resultant influences on game enjoyment are less clear.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-64
Number of pages26
JournalMedia Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Applied Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Facilitating Game Play: How Others Affect Performance at and Enjoyment of Video Games'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this