Psychologists Claim Games Alter Personal Reality

Earnest Cavalli

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Psychologists Claim Games Alter Personal Reality



Good games really get inside your head. So much so, claims an upcoming paper, that they might be affecting how you view the world around you.

The phenomenon has been dubbed "game transfer" and according to a draft of a report set to be published in an upcoming issue of the International Journal of Cyber Behavior, Psychology and Learning, it is characterized as "when video game elements are associated with real life elements, triggering subsequent thoughts, sensations and/or player actions."

In layman's terms, it's when you spend hours playing Metal Gear Solid, then while at the store the next day you view every shelf as a possible place to hide, and every employee as a grunt needing to be held up for dog tags.

According to Mark Griffiths, professor of psychology at Nottingham Trent University, the phenomena is not just common, it's almost an inherent trait of all gamers. The more involved in the game a player becomes, the more likely they are to experience symptoms.

From interviews with 42 Swedish gamers between the ages of 15 and 21, Griffiths and his colleagues claim that games can cause "intrusive thoughts, sensations, impulses, reflexes, optical illusions, and dissociations."

That all-too-clinical description sounds a bit more foreboding than the reality though. For instance, one of the 15-year-old respondents described once seeing health bars above the heads of real people. It's a bizarre occurence, sure, but Griffiths paper also notes that these momentary bursts of games affecting real world perceptions don't seem to have any affect on a person's ability to differentiate between what is real and what is fictional.

It's a neat phenomenon and clearly illustrates how little science understands about how the mind deals with the blurry lines between fictional constructs and reality, but I'm left wondering what exactly is the end game here. I'm glad we now have a word to describe this whole thing, but this betters us how exactly?

(If the answer is "cure for feline leukemia," I'm going to feel just terrible.)

Source: Kotaku [http://articles.boston.com/2011-05-14/bostonglobe/29543495_1_video-games-gaming-days-gamers]
(Image [http://www.flickr.com/photos/cristiano_betta/4651416890/])



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Mar 9, 2010
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Doesn't surprise me in the least. I've seen plenty of threads around here where we've discussed seeing in-game things in reality. I for one seen my friend and his brother as if they were in Rome Total War and were my pawns to invade cities with. It should be noted that I was drunk at the time though.

I can definitely get behind this.
 

Marudas

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Jul 8, 2010
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This explains why I hide in the nearest locker when someone glances in my direction.

Interesting study. I can't think of any related instances I've felt. I've applied video game logic to real life logic to make humor on occasion, but I don't think I've ever felt games bleeding through into the here and now.
 

TheGuy(wantstobe)

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A study into The Tetris Effect [http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheTetrisEffect]? This is a paper is hall read and wonder why it took them so long to do.

I also apologise now to anyone who gets stuck in tvtrope-land
 

GideonB

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If doing mock ddr to songs doesn't count as this I don't know what does.
 

Thaluikhain

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Of course it does, everything affects personal reality. Hell, advertising and politics is based on it.
 

FortheLegion

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Yea my mind always analyzes situations weirdly. "Locate nearest exit" or "Best tactic if a gunfight should spontaneously occur"
TheGuy(wantstobe) said:
A study into The Tetris Effect [http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheTetrisEffect]? This is a paper is hall read and wonder why it took them so long to do.

I also apologise now to anyone who gets stuck in tvtrope-land
Oh man I just barely got out of there lets see how long was I there for... 20 MINUTES!!! RAAAAGH
 

Keava

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Mar 1, 2010
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Erm..because the same doesn't happens with books or movies? Or just, well, imagination? Back before people had videogames they had other ways to entertain themselves with stories, and stories always influenced perception of real world.

Congratulations Mr. Psychologist, you managed to discover America and Law of Gravity in one go...
 

Keldon888

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Apr 25, 2009
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Just like every dude coming out of a kung fu movie sizes up everyone around them, so do gamers hide when you play the sound effect from MGS.
 

Sevre

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After a certain point last year whenever I closed my eyes I'd see my Linux terminal. The horror...
 

gigastar

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Sep 13, 2010
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Yeah i know i have this. Though i can still distinguish reality from the way i see reality.
 

Harkonnen64

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TheGuy(wantstobe) said:
A study into The Tetris Effect [http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheTetrisEffect]? This is a paper is hall read and wonder why it took them so long to do.

I also apologise now to anyone who gets stuck in tvtrope-land
NNOOOOOOO!!!!

Do you realize what you have done?
 

Knusper

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Sep 10, 2010
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This has recently kept happening to me since I got the old Desperados game from GOG where you need to quicksave every other minute and so sometimes when I am about to do something I am unsure of, I move to press F5 and remember I don't always carry a keyboard around with me. I also once looked at a shadowy corner in the street and thought "right, let's get everyone over there" last week after playing the same game because it's necessary to hide in dark corners.
 

SamuelT

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Uh, yeah? I thought this was commenly known as the Tetris Effect? Or more recently, known a the Mirrors Edge Effect, where everything turns red when you look at it.
 

RoboPenguin

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Harkonnen64 said:
TheGuy(wantstobe) said:
A study into The Tetris Effect [http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheTetrisEffect]? This is a paper is hall read and wonder why it took them so long to do.

I also apologise now to anyone who gets stuck in tvtrope-land
NNOOOOOOO!!!!

Do you realize what you have done?
Curse him for opening a portal to that black-hole-like dimension!
 

Jakub324

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Jan 23, 2011
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Well, at least they aren't saying ban the entire video games market, right? I do kind of agree, though. Sometimes, when I'm out and about, I think about how people around me would react in a terrorist attack, or think about what I'd do if someone started shooting at me, or who would last the longest in a war out of my friends.
 

BX3

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SomethingAmazing said:
Well clearly this article mentions nothing about flight and laser vision.

It's bullcrap for sure.
Agreed. Though the part about how one of the respondents saw health bars above people's heads made this story a little promising. I say they look a bit more into this so that it can become REAL science.