One's feelings of intimacy and connectedness with distal, fictional media characters are referred to as parasocial interactions. Video games have challenged this concept, as the distance between game players and characters is greatly reduced, if not completely removed, in virtual environments. Games encourage the internalization and psychological merging of a player's and a character's mind, a multidimensional concept known as character attachment (CA). Data from our study suggest that dimensions of CA are useful in understanding both pro- and anti-social gaming motivations. Pro-social gamers feel a greater sense of control over their characters, while anti-social gamers are more likely to suspend their disbelief of the game environment and not take responsibility for their virtual actions. Pro-social gaming was more prevalent in older gamers, and younger male game characters were motivated by anti-social reasons.
Bowman, N., Schultheiss, D., & Schumann, C. (2012). "I'm Attached, and I'm a Good Guy/Gal!": How Character Attachment Influences Pro- and Anti-Social Motivations to Play MMORPGs. Default journal, 169-174. https://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2011.0311