A study conducted by the University of York, in the United Kingdom, recently discovered that a player’s name can determine how that person will conduct themselves in-game.

The team of researchers hypothesized that players with swearwords, racial slurs, and sexual connotations in their names would be more antisocial or exhibit negative behavior. In order to conduct the study properly, Riot Games supplied them with information from 450,000 random League of Legends accounts that included: name, age (according to what was supplied upon registration), and number of reports/honor given to other players.

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Accounts used in the findings were restricted to North America to provide a mostly English dataset, and more than 2,000 names were deemed antisocial out of the 100,000 from the NA server. According to the data, it seems that players with antisocial names were less likely to give honor to teammates and more likely to report them.

“We found that players with antisocial names had significantly higher sent and received Report rates compared to the control group, reflecting an increase in anti-social behaviour. They also had significantly lower sent and received Honor rates, indicating a reduction in altruistic or prosocial behaviour.

Overall, our control group sent and received positive ‘Honor’ at a rate that was 25% higher than that of their antisocially-named peers. Similarly, antisocial-named players sent and received negative ‘Reports’ at a 25% higher rate than controls.”

Our Thoughts:

Anyone who’s ever played a multiplayer game knows that “TrollMaster10k” or “IHateScrubsXxX” is probably going to create a negative gaming experience, especially if things don’t immediately go their way. However, it’s nice to have some statistical information that actually backs this up. There is also the chance that other players see these names and immediately make assumptions about them, which could lead to a toxic spiral.

Source: What’s in a name?