Research from psychologists at the University of York suggests that your online gamertag reveals a lot about your real world personality.
For the research, Professor Alex Wade and Ph.D. student Athanasios Kokkinakis analyzed data from League of Legends, provided to them by League of Legends developer Riot Games. The investigators say that mining the League of Legends data could become an important area of research into the personalities of players, as well as potentially providing evidence of clinical disorders such as autism, sociopathy, or addictive personality.
The anonymous data contained usernames, information on the in-game behaviour of players and the reaction of other gamers from the post-match “Honour” and “Report” feedback each player can file. Investigators found that when a player incorporated a profanity or other antisocial expression in their username, they tended to adopt similar antisocial behavior in the game. Conversely, they found that positive in-game behaviour such as rapid learning, team building, or leadership might correlate both with positive usernames and with positive personality traits outside of League of Legends.
The research team also discovered that where numbers featured in usernames, it often provided an indication of the age of players.
Wade said, “Video games can provide a wealth of useful population-level information on developmental, cognitive, and psychological processes. We found that people who have antisocial names tend to behave in an antisocial way within the game. Younger people behave poorly and older people less so.
“This data is like a window on individual players’ personalities so we believe that we might be able to use video games as a way of testing people’s personalities.”
Said Kokkinakis, “We think this is just the tip of the iceberg — these massive datasets offer an unprecedented tool for studying human psychology across the globe.”
Moral of the story: choose your League of Legends username carefully. You don’t want to inadvertently out yourself as a psychopath. You want to show your opponents you are a psychopath slowly but surely with your ruthless tactics in the Rift.