Motivational Engagement and Video Gaming: A Mixed Methods Study

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A mixed methods design was used to identify factors associated with motivational engagement in video gaming. Self-report instruments were administered to 189 video game players to assess goal orientations, affect, need for cognition, and perceptions of engagement and flow. Simultaneously, a sub-set of 25 participants were interviewed and results analyzed to identify patterns that influenced their propensity for gaming. Regression results revealed motivational engagement for gaming was related to gender, hours of play, task orientation, and socialization. Players indicated that gaming was socially captivating, fun, challenging but relaxing, and precipitated positive affect and cognition even when unsuccessful results were achieved. The negative consequences normally associated with task failure were not reported by participants to take place during gaming. We concluded transfer of motivational engagement in gaming for entertainment to educational contexts was unlikely to occur.