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New study shows gaming can further affect one's cognitive abilities

Some players may want to use a Portal to escape.
Some players may want to use a Portal to escape.
Angelica B. Ortiz de Gortari

We published a story last month regarding Game Transfer Phenomena (GTP), and how excessive gaming may lead to visual hallucinations. A follow-up study was recently conducted that elaborates a bit more on how video games may temporarily affect our judgment, changing the way we react to real world stimuli. This study, like the previous one, was conducted by Angelica B. Ortiz de Gortari and Professor Mark Griffiths of England's Nottingham Trent University. This follow-up story was published in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, and includes 1,022 experiences gathered from 762 different gamers, who cited a total of 262 games as being the cause of their symptoms.

The researchers reported that these gamers had difficulties when switching from virtual to real life tasks. Examples included gamers being unable to stop thinking about a game, expecting something from the game to happen in real life, confusion between in-game occurrences and those happening for real and impulses to perform an action from the video game. Other symptoms included verbal outbursts, as well as both voluntary and involuntary behaviors. Most of these incidents were brief, though some did report recurring instances of GTP.

While some gamers stated that these incidents were amusing or normal, others stated that they felt surprised, worried and embarrassed. Some even stated that they were forced to quit playing due to these incidents. These results seem to fall in line with the researchers' previous study, which was conducted in a very similar way. Ortiz de Gortari had this to say about her research:

The findings suggest that gamers' experiences appear to be enhanced by virtual embodiment, repetitive manipulation of game controls and gaming habits. But similar experiences can occur with non-gaming related activities. Gamers' behaviors were in most of the cases harmless, but some involuntary actions when the [gamers were] incapable to control their impulses caused problems or made them feel awkward.

It should be stated that the psychological profiles of the gamers involved with the study were not known to the researchers. Also, further studies may need to be done in order to determine the long-term effects of excessive gaming. Ortiz de Gortari has also posted a series of comics that demonstrate how some people respond to GTP.

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