The survey, conducted by casual game maker PopCap Games, polled 1,200 adult consumers on their gaming and lifestyle habits. Of those consumers that admitted to cheating in casual social games, 48% reported that they have also cheated in real life compared to 14% of those that said they did not cheat in social games. The result is that individuals that report cheating in social games are 350% more likely to cheat in real life as well. This may not come as much of a shock to people, as the same individual characteristics that lead to cheating in games will also lead people to cheat in life, but the correlation is dramatically high.
The survey, conducted in both the U.S. and the U.K., show 118 million regular social gamers between both countries. In the UK 11% of those surveyed admitted to cheating in games while only 7% of U.S. gamers did. Of those reporting cheating in games, 51% in the UK also admitted to cheating on their taxes (compared to 33% in the U.S.), and roughly 49% also admitted to cheating in a relationship, either married or dating. Nearly half also reported to parking in handicapped spaces, stealing sundry items from hotels and restaurants, and stealing magazines from waiting rooms.
With over 100 million individuals playing social games, there’s an enormous data pool to pull from representing, as Clay Routledge of North Dakota State University pointed out, “the full range of psychological characteristics represented in the social gaming population – even cheating.” The high correlation between people cheating in virtual games as well as in real life seem to show that people’s fundamental psychology is very similar between the virtual world and the real one. This may open up new doors to accurately profiling individuals’ potentials and personalities online, even in a largely anonymous virtual world. If nothing else, if your partner keeps cheating you online, you may want to start checking their cell phone history.