Category Archives: GTP study

Game Transfer Phenomena, Augmented Reality and Pokémon Go

AR and no AR Pogo

It is easy to imagine how Augmented Reality technologies will transform, enhance or distort our everyday perceptions by superimposing vivid synthetic images on real world sceneries.

Localization-based quasi-augmented reality games such as Ingress and more recently Pokémon Go, offer possibilities to get the first insights of Game Transfer Phenomena and Augmented Reality (AR).

I was particularly thrilled to investigate GTP in Pokémon Go, a game of massive appeal and positive attributes.

Four out of five Pokémon Go gamers (80.9%) reported having experienced some type of GTP at some point (n=1,085). This is relatively many but less than in previous studies I have conducted with other video games (e.g., 96%). These findings raise other questions.

Could playing a game, which includes digital images that are superimposed and seemingly merged with sceneries and objects of the physical world be related to gamers’ reports of seeing images from the game after playing or misperceiving objects from the real world with those from the game?

To my surprise, Pokémon Go gamers tend to not play with the AR function enabled. According to a preliminary analysis of one of my explorative surveys on Pokémon Go (n=196), only 38% used the AR function.

Playing with the AR function enabled increases the battery usage, and some gamers also say that the AR function makes it harder to capture Pokémon due to lack of precision.

Interestingly, playing with the AR function was not significantly associated to experiencing almost any of the visual related GTP, only for misperceptions of physical objects.

Moreover, more of those who played with the AR function enabled reported perceptual distortions of objects/environments and less reported seeing images related with Pokémon Go after playing (with closed or open eyes).

It seems that seeing images overlaid on real life context may facilitate confusing objects later on in the physical world with something from the game, this may be explained because our brains tend to interpret stimuli based on previous experiences. Gamers have reported confusing birds with planes from a video game in previous studies.


These findings leave us with speculative thoughts. It appears that the time of exposure to the video game images, the type of images (e.g., brightness, colour), and individual factors may be more important to re-experiencing images from the game after playing than the actual use of the AR feature.

In a previous study, gamers have reported seeing images after playing very repetitive games and playing for prolonged periods of times. Gamers have also seen images of game tags, text boxes and power bars triggered by associations in real world sceneries.

closed eyes_banner

Another interesting finding was regarding playing the game with or without sound. 57% played Pokémon Go with sound. Playing with the sound on was related to experiencing hearing music and sounds when not playing and also misperceptions of real life sounds with those from the game. This finding shows the importance of the exposure to video game features! How many times has the music got stuck in your head after listening to a song?

What kind of images do gamers re-experience after playing? Afterimages?, hallucinations?, imaginations? How do you qualify your GTP experiences? How does the interplay work between physiological, perceptual and cognitive mechanisms involved in gamers’ sensorial experiences?

In my research, I have identified diverse types of GTP that seem to be explained by related but different mechanisms. We need to research more into this matter.

I wonder what ventures augment reality/mixed reality will bring us? I am excited to keep exploring!

In my next post, I will tell you more about my findings regarding the use of the AR function and playing Pokémon Go with sound!

Further reading:

  1. Ortiz de Gortari, A. B. (2017). Game Transfer Phenomena and the Augmented Reality Game Pokémon Go: The prevalence and the relation with benefits, risks, immersion and motivations. Paper presented at the 22nd Annual CyberPsychology & Cyber Therapy Conference, Wolverhampton, UK.
  2. Ortiz de Gortari A. B., & Griffiths M. D. (2016). Prevalence and Characteristics of Game Transfer Phenomena: A Descriptive Survey StudyInternational Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, 32(6), 470-480.
  3. Ortiz de Gortari, A. B., & Griffiths, M. D. (2014). Altered Visual Perception in Game Transfer Phenomena: An Empirical Self-Report StudyInternational Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, 30(2), 95-105.
  4. Ortiz de Gortari, A. B., & Griffiths, M. D. (2014). Auditory experiences in Game Transfer Phenomena: An empirical self-report studyInternational Journal of Cyber Behavior, Psychology and Learning 4(1), 59-75.
  5. Ortiz de Gortari, A. B., Aronsson, K., & Griffiths, M. D. (2011). Game Transfer Phenomena in video game playing: A qualitative interview studyInternational Journal of Cyber Behavior, Psychology and Learning, 1(3), 15-33.

Participate in the new survey on Game Transfer Phenomena

and make your voice heard!

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Participate in a new survey on Game Transfer Phenomena!

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Participate in a new survey on Game Transfer Phenomena! The study aims to examine the relation between GTP and involuntary phenomena without video game contents.

You should be at least 18 years old to participate.

Follow this link to participate!

Please share it with your friends 🙂

Looking for pilots for a survey on Game Transfer Phenomena

GTPS-R banner_plusicon_NGamers, followers! We need your help.

I’m looking for gamers for a pilot test of a new survey on Game Transfer Phenomena!

Please send me an email if you are interested.

Answering the survey will take max 25 minutes.



What characterize those with severe Game Transfer Phenomena?

According to our previous study on Game Transfer Phenomena (GTP) (i.e., altered sensorial perceptions, automatic mental processes and involuntary behaviours with game content) we found that most gamers have experienced GTP.

97% of our self-selected sample reported that they had experienced GTP at some point of their life.

The more common GTP reported were: i) visualized or seen video game images with closed eyes, ii) heard music from the game when not playing, iii) wanted to use video game elements in real life contexts and iv) involuntarily said something with contents from the game.

It was unexpected to find such a high prevalence of GTP. Certainly, the findings raised numerous questions.

How could it be that we found such a large prevalence in a non-self-selected sample?, what would be the prevalence if GTP is framed in a particular time period rather than during gamers whole life?, what would be the prevalence in a pathological sample or with actual drug users?

In our sample the majority of the participants did not suffer from any medical conditions, neither had most ever consumed drugs or were under the influence of a substance (medicament or drug) when they experienced GTP.

Most of the questions I mentioned above cannot be answered with our current data; however, we could answer what characterize those gamers who experienced a severe level of GTP.

Comparative analysis between the mild, moderate and severe levels of GTP showed interesting results (n=2281).

The majority of the participants showed mild level of GTP (57.8%), then moderate level (35.6%), and least had severe level (6.6%).

The factors significantly associated with the severe level of GTP were the following:

  • being student
  • being aged 18 to 22 years
  • being a professional gamer
  • playing video games every day in sessions of 6 hours or longer
  • playing to escape from the real world
  • having a sleep disorder, mental disorder or reported dysfunctional gaming
  • having experienced distress or dysfunction due to GTP.

In addition, having used drugs and experienced flashbacks as side-effects of drug use were significantly less likely to be reported by those with mild level of GTP.

Moreover, in a regression analysis, predictors of severe GTP included:

  • positive appraisals of GTP
  • distress or dysfunction due to GTP
  • tendency to recall dreams.

In general, the findings suggest that those with a severe level of GTP share characteristics with profiles of gamers with dysfunctional gaming (e.g., problematic and/or addictive gaming).

To get the full picture and the interpretation of the findings you are welcome to check our study published in the Computer in Human Behaviour.

New study published: Severe Game Transfer Phenomena

A new study on the severity of GTP “An empirical examination of factors associated with Game Transfer Phenomena severity” has been published in the Computer in Human Behaviour Journal with my co-authors Ben Oldfield and Mark D. Griffiths. You can download a free copy of the full article until September following this link.


Game Transfer Phenomena (GTP) (i.e. altered perceptions, spontaneous thoughts and behaviors with game content) occur on a continuum from mild to severe. This study examined the differences between mild, moderate and severe ledownloadvels of GTP.

A total of 2281 gamers’ participated in an online survey. The majority of gamers experienced a mild level of GTP.

The factors significantly associated with the severe level of GTP were:

(i) being students, (ii) being aged 18 to 22 years, (iii) being professional gamers, (iv) playing videogames every day in sessions of 6 h or more, (iv) playing to escape from the real world, (v) having a sleep disorder, mental disorder or reported dysfunctional gaming, and (vi) having experienced distress or dysfunction due to GTP.

In addition, having used drugs and experiencing flashbacks as side- effects of drug use were significantly less likely to be reported by those with mild level of GTP.

In a regression analysis, predictors of severe GTP included positive appraisals of GTP, distress or dysfunction due to GTP, and tendency to recall dreams. In general, the findings suggest that those with severe level of GTP share characteristics with profiles of gamers with dysfunctional gaming (e.g., problematic and/or addictive gaming).


The five most common types of GTP

In our latest study with over 2,000 self-selected participants 97% reported having experienced GTP at some point in their life. The most (95%) had experienced GTP more than once.

Altered visual perceptions 

The most commonly reported among the visual experiences were visualizing images or seeing images with closed eyes (77%).


Visualizing or seeing images with closed eyes from the game

77% Visualized/seen VG images with closed eyes

46% Misperceived RL objects as those in the game

36% Seen distorted environments and/or objects

31% Seen VG images with open eyes


Altered auditory perceptions

Hearing music from the game when not playing was the most commonly reported by participants in the auditory sub-modality (74%).


Hearing music from the game

74% Heard the music from a VG IRL

65% Heard a sound from a VG IRL

65% Misinterpreted sounds IRL as those from the VG

46% Heard a character’s voice from a VG IRL


Automatic thoughts

Thinking about using a video game element in real life was the most commonly type reported by the participants (75%) in the automatic thoughts modality. This type of experience usually happens as spontaneous thoughts but also occurred as mix-ups when gamers for moments actually think they can use video game elements to resolve real life situations.


Thinking about using something from a VG IRL

75% Thought about using something from a VG IRL

72% Wanted/felt the urge to do something IRL after seeing something that reminded of a VG

63% Still being in the mind-set of a VG

43% Mixed up VG events with actual RL events


Altered body perceptions

The most common GTP experienced related to body was to feel body movement as in the game (51%).


Illusion of body movement

51% Bodily sensations of movement as in a VG

49% Perceived time and/or body differently

41% Tactile touch sensation associated with a VG

29% Felt as though the mind has disconnected from the body


Behaviours and actions

Among the different behaviours investigated in the survey saying something involuntary with video game contents was the most commonly reported (58%). It is very common that gamers use slang and jokes that include video game commands, phrases, etc. Although, this experience measures only those cases where gamers voiced out loud something with game contents involuntarily.


Verbal outburst

58% Sang, shouted or said something from a VG IRL unintentionally

49% Unintentionally acted differently IRL because of something experienced in a VG

44% Reflex body reaction associated with a VG

40% Acted out a behaviour/activity influenced by a VG

GTP characteristics

  • Most GTP were short-lived (lasted seconds 59%, minutes 27%).
  • Most occurred after playing (directly after playing 42%, hours after 47%).
  • Occurred recurrently (66%), and usually while doing day-to-day activities (62%).
  • Occurred in a large variety of games. Most prevalent were role-playing (53%) and adventure games (54%).
  • 47% had no special feelings about their GTP, 26% had pleasant feelings, 21% wanted that GTP re-occurred, and 14% had felt confused.
  • 20% had been distressed or experienced dysfunction due to GTP.
  • 13% were under the influence of a substance (medicine, alcohol or drugs) when GTP occurred.

Here you can read the full published study.

Video report on GTP, 100,000 views!

db387cec24f8dd1a69e9a138f82eb48eb79f4821_full Rodrigo Villanueva from has put together a video report on the latest study about prevalence of GTP.

Almost 100,000 people have watched it in just a few days!

Check out the gamers’ comments and share your one!


GTP in the weekly science round-up of the Telegraph

Telegraph sciences round up

           Full article

Comunicado de prensa- Estudio acerca de la prevalencia del GTP

Un gran número de jugadores reportó haber experimentado imágenes, sonidos y sensaciones después de jugar video juegos

 Casi todos los encuestados que respondieron el cuestionario de Fenómenos de transferencia del juego o su nombre en inglés Game Transfer Phenomena (GTP) reportaron haber experimentado alguna experiencia, ya sea imágenes, sonidos o impulsos después de jugar.

El estudio con más de 2,000 jugadores de 78 países conducido por los ciberpsicólogos Dr Angelica Ortiz de Gortari y el Profesor Mark Griffiths de la universidad Nottingham Trent en Inglaterra reportaron haber visto imágenes, escuchado sonidos o experimentar impulsos relacionados con su uso de video juegos.Texto cita blanco SPS

La investigación, ha sido publicada en la revista académica International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction.

Los participantes fueron reclutados a través de foros en línea y redes sociales. Casi dos tercios de los participantes se identificaron como hard-core-gamers.

Casi un tercio (31%) reportó haber visto imágenes de los video juegos en la vida real, a pesar de tener los ojos abiertos, y casi tres cuartas partes (74%) ha oído la música del juego después de jugar. Alrededor de dos tercios (65%) afirmó haber escuchado sonidos reproducidos en el juego y casi la mitad (46%) dijo haber escuchado la voz de algún personaje.

Más de la mitad de los jugadores (51%) a experimentado sensaciones de movimiento, como al estar en el video juego y el 58% dijo que habían cantado, gritado o dicho algo asociado con los video juegos involuntariamente.

Tres cuartas partes (75%) han pensado en utilizar algún objeto de un videojuego en la vida real, mientras que un número similar (72%) ha sentido la necesidad de hacer algo en la vida real después de ver algo que les recordaba de su juego.

GTP se ha manifestado con gran variedad de video juegos – los géneros más prevalentes fueron los juegos de aventura (54%) y los juegos de rol (53%).Texto cita blanco SPS1

La mayoría de las experiencias se produjeron posteriores al jugar -horas después de jugar el 47% y/o directamente después de jugar el 42%. Un mayor número de jugadores reportaron haber experimentado GTP al realizar actividades diurnas (62%) en comparación que experimentarlo al está acostado en cama (31%) o mientras concilian el sueño (28%).

Mientras que el 20% se ha sentido angustiado y 14% confuso debido a su experiencia de GTP, el 26% ha experimentado sentimientos placenteros, y el 21% dijo que querían que vuelva a ocurrir.

La psicóloga investigadora, Dr Angelica Ortiz de Gortari dijo: “Fue inesperado encontrar tal prevalencia del GTP en la muestra. Nuestro estudio indica como los contenidos de los video juegos están presentes en la vida de los jugadores y como el jugar puede inducir una variedad de alteraciones senso-perceptivas, pensamientos automáticos y acciones involuntarias. Afortunadamente las experiencias del GTP en la mayoría de los casos no son negativas. Además, es importante puntualizar que cuando los jugadores ven imágenes de los video juegos están conscientes que estas no son reales”

“Muchos de los GTP ocurren dadas las asociaciones entre los contenidos de los video juegos y estímulos de la vida real. Si conocemos el impacto de ciertos contenidos y efectos especiales empleados en los video juegos, podremos tomar decisiones más certeras acerca de su uso eficaz en productos virtuales para promover salud, educación y entretenimiento, y evitar o minimizar los potenciales efectos negativos asociados a los mismo”

El profesor Mark Griffiths, Director de International Gaming Research Unit en la Universidad de Nottingham Trent, dijo: Nuestro primer estudio en este tema en el 2011 consistió en entrevistas con 42 jugadores y por primera vez arrojo luz en los diferentes tipos de GTP, así como en variados niveles de intensidad. Este estudio se basa en gran parte en ese estudio inicial y sugiere que GTP no es una rareza y de hecho es común en los jugadores habituales”

Press release- Study on the prevalence of GTP

Many video gamers experience images, sounds and sensations from games in their real worlds

Almost all video gamers who responded to an online survey about ‘Game Transfer Phenomena’ claimed to have experienced some form of it – with images, sounds or urges from their games being transferred into their real worlds.

Texto cita blancoA study of more than 2,000 gamers from 78 countries by cyber-psychologists at Nottingham Trent University found that 97% self-reported having experienced at least one type of GTP. The vast majority (95%) also reported having experienced GTP more than once.

The research, carried out by Dr Angelica Ortiz de Gortari and Professor Mark Griffiths of the university’s School of Social Sciences, is published in the International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction. It is the latest by the university to examine GTP, a common occurrence responsible for gamers experiencing altered perceptions, involuntary thoughts and behaviours after playing.

Participants were recruited via online gaming forums and social networks, and almost two-thirds who responded described themselves as ‘hard-core gamers’.

Almost a third (31%) reported seeing images from their games in real life, despite having their eyes open, and almost three quarters (74%) heard the music from the game after they had finished playing. About two-thirds (65%) claimed to have heard sounds from their game and almost a half (46%) said they had heard a character’s voice.

More than half of gamers (51%) had experienced sensations of movement as though in their videogame and 58% said they had sung, shouted or said something from their videogames unintentionally. Almost half (44%) claimed to have had a reflex body reaction associated with a videogame.

Three quarters (75%) had thought about using an object from a video game in real life, while a similar number (72%) had felt the urge to do something in real life after seeing something which reminded them of their game.

GTP was found to occur after playing a wide variety of games – the most prevalent genres were adventure games, reported by 54% of gamers, and roleplaying games, 53%.

Most experiences occurred after playing – hours after playing for 47% and/or directly after playing for 42%. More gamers reported GTP when doing daytime activities (62%) than while lying in bed (31%) or falling asleep (28%).

While 20% had been distressed and 14% confused due to their GTP experience, 26% had pleasant feelings associated with it, and 21% said that they wanted it to reoccur.

Research psychologist Dr Angelica Ortiz de Gortari said: “It was unexpected to find such a high prevalence of GTP in the sample. Our study highlights how ever-present videogame content is in gamers’ lives and how playing can induce a wide range of altered perceptions, sensations, spontaneous thoughts and actions.

“However, it is important to note that in most cases, when gamers have reported reviving images or sounds when not playing, they knew that these were not real.

“Many GTP occur triggered by associations between in-game elements and real-world stimuli. If we can understand the effects of particular game features on the individual, we can take more informed decisions on their use in virtual products for promoting health, education or entertainment, and for reducing potential unwanted effects.”

Professor Mark Griffiths, Director of the International Gaming Research Unit at Nottingham Trent University, said: “Our first published study on this topic in 2011 comprised interviews with 42 players and for the first time shed light on the different types of GTP, as well as its varying degrees of intensity. This study builds heavily upon that work and suggests that GTP is not a rarity, but in fact commonplace among regular gamers.”

Original source

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