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Further research suggests that gaming can lead to auditory hallucinations

Incidents of GTP can be as simple as having music stuck in your head
Incidents of GTP can be as simple as having music stuck in your head
Photo courtesy of Cyberpsyke, used with permission

A recent study conducted by Nottingham Trent University's International Gaming Research Unit has led to further understanding of Game Transfer Phenomena (GTP). The study, which was published in yesterday's issue of The International Journal of Cyber Behavior, Psychology and Learning, was conducted by Angelica B. Ortiz de Gortari and Mark Griffiths, and is the latest in their line of research regarding the hallucinatory symptoms some gamers may experience after extended periods of play. This study in particular focuses on phantom audio feedback, namely specific sound effects and music from recently played games.

This latest research was conducted in a similar way to the team's previous studies. Psychologists collected data from 1,244 people who had experienced some form of GTP, 155 (12%) of which claimed to have had unusual auditory experiences as a result of gameplay. Some of the audio that players reported hearing included sound effects like explosions, vehicular engine noise, weapons firing, screams or even breathing. Others claimed to hear beeping and other audio cues from various titles.

Some gamers reported that these incidents had occurred while they were drifting off to sleep or during daily activities such as walking or driving. Angelica Ortiz de Gortari, who also spearheaded the previous research into GTP, had the following to say about the latest results:

These experiences can sometimes result in illogical thoughts and behaviors. It's important to help gamers understand their experiences since re-experiencing sounds and voices may provoke distress, especially when associated with dangerous situations in the game.

Research Professor Mark Griffiths added that GTP appears to be commonplace among those who game excessively and that most of these incidents are only temporary. He suggests that the small amount who deal with these symptoms for an extended period of time should cut down on the amount of time they spend playing video games.

A blog dedicated to Game Transfer Phenomena has been set up for those who wish to learn more about these studies and the various ways that GTP has affected gamers. We'd also love to know if any of you have experienced similar incidents and how you responded to them.

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