Liz McCormick Published

‘Sense Of Place,’ Fallout 76 Research To Be Published In New Scientific Journal

A screenshot from the video game Fallout 76.


A study done last year that found the video game Fallout 76 may help forge new emotional connections between those playing it and West Virginia, will be published in a new journal under the American Psychological Association

The new journal is titled Technology, Mind, and Behavior.


Texas Tech University associate professor Nick Bowman and colleagues spent three months studying more than 500 people who played Fallout 76. About 80 percent of those individuals were not native to West Virginia.


His team’s research found that players developed a “sense of place,” or a meaningful and emotional connection with the artifacts and places portrayed in the game.


Bowman said in an emailed statement that he hopes his findings add “to a body of research into video games that goes beyond basic criticism of the medium.”


He noted there is a lot of research that looks at the negative influence of games on players and that his research might provide something positive.


Bowman also said he hopes players, especially who are sheltering in place at home during the coronavirus pandemic, find some comfort in exploring West Virginia right now in virtual space.


“Of course not all games are social spaces and many folks are turning to their favorite games to take a temporary break from their surroundings … [but] video games can also be profoundly social spaces,” Bowman said. “Already our team has been thinking about ways to chat with World of Warcraft players to see how they’re finding each other online, both to completely forget about COVID-19 … and to bond with each other and stay in touch.”


Bowman said there is not yet a date set for the new publication, however the pre-print of his Fallout 76 research is currently available for viewing here.