New research out of Sweden suggests some gamers may lack the ability to separate real world fact from videogame fiction. The study, conducted at the Nottingham Trent University and Stockholm University, found that a majority of the 42 regular gamers surveyed had experienced some form of game-like visions or obsessive thoughts well after they had stopped playing, otherwise known as ‘Game Transfer Phenomena’ (GTP).
“Almost all the players reported some type of GTP, but in different ways and with varying degrees of intensity. We are now following this up with a further study of a much larger number of gamers,” said Mark Griffiths, a professor and co-author of the study, adding, “A recurring trend suggests that intensive gaming may lead to negative psychological, emotional or behavioural consequences, with enormous implications for software developers, parents, policy makers and mental health professionals.”
Among the GTP symptoms cited in the report were an urge to manipulate controllers that weren’t there, use video game items to solve real life problems, and in rare cases, interactive with information bubbles that appeared over real people.
Griffiths said he believes this is the first study to delve in GTP, however the symptoms appear to mirror the ‘Tetris Effect’, which was first reported by Internet expert Garth Kidd in 1996. Citing similar hallucinatory symptoms, Kidd introduced the Tetris Effect in an online report, noting, “Many people, after playing Tetris for more than an hour straight, report being plagued by after-images of the game for up to days afterwards, an ability to play the game in their head, and a tendency to identify everything in the world as being made of four squares.’”
No matter its origin or proper name, the study of GTP relies on factual first-hand accounts. There may be something to it, but then we all know some gamers have a tendency to exaggerate. But then, who hasn’t been tempted to jack their neighbor’s motorcycle after a GTA marathon?
Sep 21, 2011