People with fewer-than-average friends in real life are likely to make more friends in online games, according to new research.
German psychologists compared the online gaming patterns of people who are shy, with those who are more outgoing, via hundreds of telephone polls. They found that "a positive relationship between emotional sensitivity [shyness] and the number of online gaming friends. The higher a person's emotional sensitivity, the greater number of online gaming friends they had not met offline."
The study, called ‘The relationship between online video game involvement and Gaming-Related friendships among emotionally sensitive individuals' (Kowert, R., Domahidi, E., & Quandt, T) concluded that "emotional sensitivity, a behavioural component of shyness, is a predictor for the number of online gaming friendships."
It added that "emotionally sensitive users 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 or overcome their shyness."
The researchers said their findings are based on a fairly small sample in only one country and added that they hope to expand their work internationally.