Automatic Mental Processes, Automatic Actions and Behaviours in Game Transfer Phenomena: An Empirical Self-Report Study Using Online Forum Data
Previous studies have demonstrated that the playing of videogames can have both intended and unintended effects. The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of videogames on players’ mental processes and behaviours in day-to-day settings. A total of 1,022 self-reports from 762 gamers collected from online videogame forums were classified, quantified, described and explained. The data include automatic thoughts, sensations and impulses, automatic mental replays of the game in real life, and voluntary/involuntary behaviours with videogame content. Many gamers reported that they had responded–at least sometimes–to real life stimuli as if they were still playing videogames. This included overreactions, avoidances, and involuntary movements of limbs. These experiences lasted relatively short periods of time and some gamers experienced them recurrently. The gamers’ experiences appeared to be enhanced by virtual embodiment, repetitive manipulation of game controls, and their gaming habits. However, similar phenomena may also occur when doing other non-gaming activities. The implications of these game transfer experiences are discussed.