Game Transfer Phenomena

NoMoreVillainsNoMoreVillains DIY Bacon
edited May 2012 in Less Rokk More Talk
Good to see I'm not the only one experiencing this.

Ever played a game and ended up dreaming about it? Or wishing that you had one of the cool gadgets from the game's fantasy world? Then you may have been experiencing "Game Transfer Phenomena," or "GTP," a term coined by researchers Angelica B. Ortiz de Gortari and Mark D. Griffiths of Nottingham Trent University in the UK along with Karin Aronsson of Stockholm University of Sweden.

The researchers recently published the findings of a small-scale study through the International Journal of Cyber Behavior, Psychology and Learning. 42 "frequent game players" aged between 15 and 21 were interviewed, and it was discovered that many of these players experienced the integration of video game elements into their real lives -- whether this were through intentional or automatic responses. Players also used video game experiences as a means of amusement and engaging with peers through modelling or mimicking game content as well as daydreaming about the games in question. Findings also included the experience of "intrusive thoughts, sensations, impulses, reflexes, optical illusions and dissociations."

This research was promptly latched onto by two UK-based publications -- the Daily Mail and the Metro. Both focused on negative interpretations of the findings, with the Mail using it to demonstrate how a recent murder was a "copy" of events in Grand Theft Auto, while the Metro ran with the hyperbolic headline "Gamers Can't Tell Real World from Fantasy."

In fact, the study's findings were rather broader than these two reports suggest -- and, in fact, GTP was not the originally intended focus of the research at all, but it transpired the phenomenon was by far the most interesting thing to report on.

So far as automatic GTP responses went, gamers in the small sample were significantly more likely to experience automatic thoughts encouraging them to resolve real life issues using game elements or in the style of a game character rather than more serious hypnagogic or hallucinogenic sensations. When it came to intentional GTP responses, participants reported everything from speaking in the style of characters to deliberately making use of video game strategies in game-like situations such as laser tag. Some admitted to mimicking violent video game characters in a playful manner when with friends, or expressed a desire to push people out of the way like in Assassin's Creed, but most were aware of the social unacceptability of such actions. Some reported more violent fantasies, such as gunning down "irritating people" or throwing themselves in front of a car like in Saints Row​, but none had acted on these thoughts.

The study's conclusion was that most players found themselves emotionally engaged in video games to varying degrees, but the amount by which a player's mood state was affected depended on how seriously the individual took their gaming. Certain games provoked similar responses in several participants -- such as climbing fantasies from Assassin's Creed, visual hallucinations or optical illusions following extended Guitar Hero or Tetris sessions, and reckless driving fantasies based on Grand Theft Auto.
Study Explores Game Transfer Phenomena, Gets Misreported by Mainstream Press

The optical illusion that the world is still 'scrolling' after a protracted Guitar Hero session is a form of GTP.

"The findings here, while based on a small number of video game players, show that playing video games intensely can be associated with the elicitation of automatic thoughts, altered perception of real life sceneries, alteration of sensory perceptions and sensory perceptions," reads the study. "Some players may be more vulnerable to experiencing automatic GTP. However, almost all of the players reported some type of GTP, but in different ways and with varying degrees of intensity. Most of the players appeared to perceive GTP as a natural consequence of their high engagement in video games. When their playing decreased, the GTP would disappear; however, some participants expressed that they had felt scared and concerned due to bizarre GTP experiences. These experiences were not considered as topics to be discussed with relatives or friends."

The study's authors are under no illusions that more work needs to be done before any conclusions can be drawn, however -- something which both the Daily Mail and Metro have ignored.

"This study cannot determine whether GTP is an experience all gamers experience after playing a particular length of time of gaming, or whether there are some people that have predispositions that make them vulnerable to GTP experiences," concludes the paper. "Identifying those players 'at risk' of experiencing GTP should be one of the main objectives of future research."

Professor Mark Griffiths of Nottingham Trent University told GamePro that the published pilot study has since been followed up with further GTP-specific research making use of a much larger sample of 2,000 gamers. He also expressed disappointment in the biased treatment the research had received from the mainstream media when, in fact, its main conclusion was that the phenomena needed to be studied in greater detail.

"The Mail/Metro stories both wanted to go with a negative spin even though my own thoughts on the study were positive," he added.
Personally, I can go into a 3rd person view and use a targeting system. I also have the habit of planning out how to climb and move around the environment as if I was playing Assassin's Creed.


  • DrowGamer77DrowGamer77 Serious Business
    edited September 2011
    Happened to me with the last two Fallout Games.

    Pretty nerdy.
  • trueguitarist88trueguitarist88 Road Warrior
    edited September 2011
    When I used to play Splinter Cell a lot, I would try to be stealthy around my house and outside in the night with my friends. Actually, during last years Halloween, my friend and I dressed in black clothing and crawled in people's yards, crawled under cars and waited for people to walk by, and roll out under. Or we would crouchwalk behind rows of bushes. It was a blast!

    Also, usually when I observe a building, I study it and plan out how to climb it and stuff like Assassin's Creed.

    Also, this is pretty stupid, but when I had a cold and my voice sounded raspy, when I talked I would pretend to talk like Adam Jensen lololololol.
  • BachiGBachiG Inconceivable...
    edited September 2011
    The other day some skittles fell out of the bag on the table and I picked up some wooden spoons and started "drumming" wife had to slap me to snap me out of it.

    EDIT: not serious ;)
  • abynormalabynormal Rising Star
    edited September 2011
    This phenomenon can happen with anything a person obsesses over. I have a friend in the national guard, and he constantly sees things through the eyes of a soldier. When we're just walking around he frequently brings up how he'd move through the neighborhood in a combat situation, picking out possible sniper spots and choke points, and so on and on. We often have to tell him to can the army talk.

    Naturally, people who obsess over video games are going to start picturing the real world in video game terms. Heck, even I sometimes start picturing a guitar chart for songs I hear on the radio.
  • HairyManHairyMan Always Rock On The Bright Side Of Life
    edited September 2011
    I'm happy to see the authors of the pilot study stating that the results of that pilot study are not to be taken as a conclusion, or proof that videogames alter perceptions and thoughts, but only that it would be worthwhile to complete a full study.

    When doing ANY type of psychological study, the sample sizes need to be massive in order to avoid having any local or cultural influences on the results. (It would be akin to doing a study on teenage drinking, but having a large portion of the participants be from Saudi Arabia. That would skew the results dramatically because alcohol is prohibited in Saudi Arabia). The inclusion/exclusion criteria for the study also need to ensure that any pre-existing conditions which the subjects may have are accounted for, and subjects with pre-existing conditions that could influence the results of the study one way or another are excluded from the final analysis. This way there is a fully, unbiased interpretation on how the games are affecting people's minds.

    Another thing that they need to really look into is the fact that games today are more and more realistic due to the power of the machines that they run on, and the fact that people think of things in real life as they would in a videogame may just be due to the fact that the videogames have become more and more realistic as time has gone on, and not due to any neurological condition.

    A claim made in the article that I fully disagree with is the statement that after long sessions of playing a game like GH, if you continue to see scrolling hallucination-type effects afterwards that it's a form of GTP. That is 100% not true. That is an optical illusion that has existed long before videogames ever came to be. It's a result of how the human brain functions and can happen any time you have stared at a continuously moving object for a long time. If you take a pinwheel with a spiral pattern on it and spin it around for a few minutes and stare at the moving spiral pattern, if you then look away at a non-moving object, your brain will still be interpreting what you see as if it was moving and you'll get that weird visual hallucination-like effect. It is 100% NOT GTP and that is a claim which the study authors should either explain why they state that it is GTP, or remove from the conclusion as it otherwise makes it difficult to accept any of the conclusions they've made when one large error is in there. (E.G. if they went and made that one false claim, what's to say their other claims aren't false?)

    This day and age, nobody wants to take responsibility for their own actions and they want to find a wealthy corporation or individual to pass the blame on to. Hence why many people like to pass blame onto videogames and the manufacturers of those games. This way, if their child has anti-social or violent behaviors they can sue the videogame company and get money instead of accepting their own faults as bad parents.

    Of all the "studies" (and I say that in quotes since so many of these "studies" fail to ever publish their inclusion/exclusion criteria, statistical analysis plan, or study protocols to prove that they were conducted and analyzed properly with no bias introduced) that have come out, the authors of this one seem to have their minds in the right spots and I do look forward to hearing the outcomes of their other studies on this.
  • BohemianMattBohemianMatt Headliner
    edited September 2011
    This happens to me from work. I sometimes will dream that I'm cashiering but I just want to go the f*** to sleep.

    Yeah, also all the Assassin's Creed jibba-jabba. That too.
  • edited September 2011
    This would happen to me after a long session of Tetris or Pacman, I would have the same repetitive dream over and over, was kind of like a nightmare!
  • AzureAngel17AzureAngel17 In Space!
    edited September 2011
    This isn't limited to just video games. How many people knew (or were) kids that pretended to be Power Rangers or Nancy Drew?

    It's just something that happens when you focus your entertainment.
  • BohemianMattBohemianMatt Headliner
    edited September 2011
    AzureAngel17;4509581 said:
    This isn't limited to just video games. How many people knew (or were) kids that pretended to be Power Rangers or Nancy Drew?

    It's just something that happens when you focus your entertainment.

    I think the article is mostly talking about subconscious thoughts or actions.

    Show a kid something cool, and (s)he'll emulate it, but that's because they think it's cool, not because of repetitive experience causing them to do it involuntarily.
  • cyberpsykecyberpsyke Unsigned
    edited May 2012
    Many of you have shown interest to share your experiences about Game Transfer Phenomena (GTP) in this forum.

    Currently, I am looking for participants for my next study about GTP. This is an explorative survey about GTP for my PhD project. The main objective of this survey is to explore what types of Game Transfer Phenomena (GTP) are more common among gamers and to find out about the general characteristics of GTP.

    The survey takes approximately 10 minutes.

    Here is my web site. There you can access the survey, visit my blog and you are very welcome to join my GTP group on Facebook.
  • DangimarockerDangimarocker Headliner
    edited May 2012
    BachiG;4506544 said:
    The other day some skittles fell out of the bag on the table and I picked up some wooden spoons and started "drumming" wife had to slap me to snap me out of it.

    EDIT: not serious ;)

    Aw, I thought u were being serious because i thought i was the only one...
    *Back to being the only one*
  • dragoninforcerdragoninforcer UnWashed
    edited May 2012
    I played a plastic guitar and whaddayaknow I can play a real one, too.
  • GreatJedi7GreatJedi7 Road Warrior
    edited May 2012
    trueguitarist88;4506080 said:
    Actually, during last years Halloween, my friend and I dressed in black clothing and crawled in people's yards, crawled under cars and waited for people to walk by, and roll out under. Or we would crouchwalk behind rows of bushes. It was a blast!

    Oh my gosh, I'm so doing that this year!

    A lot of times when I listen to music I tap out the notes for it as if I'm playing the song on RB.
  • firedoom666firedoom666 Headliner
    edited May 2012
    this happened to me after Skyrim came out... around that time all the flowers here were blooming and all I could think about is picking them to make potions...
  • Lawdog1521Lawdog1521 Squirrel Chasing Expert
    edited May 2012
    That's happened to me with Pac Man before.

    I once laid out a bunch of oxycontin in a row on the kitchen floor, then greased myself up, yelled "woka woka" and slid across the linoleum gobbling them up. Long story short, when I came to I ended up being the doorman at a Tijuana nudy bar for six months.
  • killer_roachkiller_roach Washed Up
    edited May 2012
    Some recent research in the phenomena indicates that the brain is trying to still solve the game's puzzles while you sleep...
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