New Research Says That If You're Shy, You'll Make More Friends In Online Games

According to a group of German psychologists, if you're a shy person in the real world, you're probably pretty popular online - especially if you're a gamer. A study by VG Researcher carried out a survey consisting of hundreds of telephone polls in order to compare the online gaming habits of introverts and extroverts. What they found was that the higher someone's emotional sensitivity (one of the most significant behavioral components of shyness) grew, the greater their number of online gaming friends. 

"Shyness, which is an anxiety in meeting people and social discomfort in the company of others is based on the fear of social evaluation and rejection," explains the study. "Shyness is associated with being overly sensitive of their own behaviours, hesitating in speaking and rehearsing a lot about future interactions. This can lead to less social support and a smaller circle of friends." 

In order to compensate for this, the study continues, people who are shy tend to be more outwardly outgoing in the online world, where many of the fears and anxieties associated with social interaction in the real world are rendered irrelevant. This, in turn, leads to them meeting more friends in a purely online context - particularly where gaming's involved. What this means is that the more shy an individual is offline, the more friends they tend to have in online games. 

"The higher a person's emotional sensitivity, "the greater number of online gaming friends they had not met offline. Emotional sensitivity, a behavioral component of shyness, is a predictor for the number of online gaming friendships."

"Emotionally sensitive users," continued the study, "are using the online gaming environment differently from their counterparts. As they are shy in face-to-face interactions...online videogames paved a way for them to compensate for or overcome their shyness." 

If you want to check out the study for yourself, it's called "The relationship between online video game involvement and Gaming-Related friendships among emotionally sensitive individuals." Yeah, that's a bit of a mouthful, but they definitely came up with some incredibly fascinating insights. 

Via Gamasutra