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Psychologist Finds Evidence that Gaming is Addictive

January 1, 2013 Written by Jesse Meikle

Australian National University psychologist Olivia Metcalf has found some interesting evidence that suggests gaming addiction is both real, and similar to other common addictions including: heroin, tobacco, alcohol, and gambling.

For her study, Olivia Metcalf gathered volunteers representing: alleged video game addicts, average gamers, and a control group of non-gamers. The volunteers’ responses were tested when presented with video game related words. Here’s what Metcalf concluded:

We found that the attention system of an excessive gamer gives top priority to gaming information. Even if they don’t want to think about gaming, they’re unable to stop themselves

This phenomenon is known as attention bias, and is present in other common addictions. But, does excessive gaming make you a hardcore analog addict? Metcalf doesn’t think so:

The majority of gamers enjoy games without any consequences, even if they are spending some days playing for long periods. It’s not something that occurs because you do a behavior a lot. It’s some sort of change that occurs in your attention system, in your brain, when an addiction is developing.

Any activity can become mentally addicting. It isn’t much of a surprise that gaming can evolve into a hopelessly recurrent pastime, especially considering that there are games developed with a formulaic rewards system specifically designed to keep players infinitely captivated. So, if a man can become a chronic casino cash chucker, then gaming addiction isn’t much of a stretch of the imagination.

Would you consider yourself addicted to gaming? Have you ever been addicted to a game before?

[Source]