The Startling Parallels Between Our Social Groups and Online Video Games

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June 10 2014 12:56 PM

How People Are Wired to Connect   

The startling parallels between human social groups and online video games. 

Gaming Still.

Video still.

What happens when you apply a method used by anthropologists to track real-life human hierarchies to social dynamics of video games? Well, first of all, the results are pretty much the same.

A new study details how, since our earliest societies, human beings have sought structure in their social groups—easily classifiable as categories based on cliques, linguistics, tribes, and so forth. Curious about how far that structure went, a research group in Austria took it a step further: It studied the social interactions within video games.

As the video above shows, despite the virtual world providing cover for people to act startlingly less human, the standard human hierarchies still applied. 

Adam Wiesen is a multimedia designer living in New York City.

Ayana Morali is the executive producer of Slate Video.

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