Category Archives: Media

The joy & the pain of recruiting for a study

FZ.se_logTo my surprise, my survey made it to the front page of the Swedish gaming site Thank you for embracing science! Happy to see that the recruiting part of the inevitable process of research is valued!

I felt a little melancholy since my research on Game Transfer Phenomena started thanks to motivated and open-minded Swedish gamers who spent hours telling me about how gaming had influenced their lives. This resulted in the first published paper in 2011.

It is challenging to accomplish the goal without stakeholders embracing and acknowledging the value of knowledge, research and science.

This really takes me to the controversy if participants should or should not be rewarded for participating in research.

When I wanted to offer participation in an Amazon vouchers raffle as a gift for participating in the survey, the board of ethics at my university considered it as instigation to gambling. Not easy my dear researcher colleagues!

Interestingly, so far, my own experience this is a common practice and it is even used by some universities for filling out student satisfaction surveys. I even got a price once! 😊 In any case, there are a few caveats when participants join research for other than just intrinsic motivations.

I’m resisting to recruit participants only inside the confines of our lovely academia, which would be the easy thing to do!

Unfortunately, I have been banned in various gaming outlets, for spamming. Reaching stakeholders is not always easy or possible.

Gamers, I know you are out there, but how I can reach you?

You have not even had a chance to decide if you want to join the journey of the understanding of Game Transfer Phenomena.

I’m just starting, but it has been exhaustive!

Thanks to all that have collaborated promoting the survey so far! Special thank you to Rodrigo Villanueva and Pablo Lopez.

Any ideas, tips, etc are welcome!

Please participate (and spread the link):


Game Transfer Phenomena in Washington Post’s “The screen age” series


Washington Post is running a series of stories on growing up in “The screen age”. In the most recent story “The next level” they go into the case of “Byrne”, his struggles with gaming addition and the impact on his family. Byrne has also experienced Game Transfer Phenomena (GTP).

“After Byrne’s prolonged periods of play, his parents noticed that his temperament was unusually volatile. The muscles in his back and neck felt tense and tight. His eyes would sometimes twitch. Lines of dialogue from the games would pop into his mind unbidden. At school, the class dismissal bell occasionally sounded just like the two-tone chime that signaled a new friend joining a game online — a sort of auditory hallucination that researchers refer to as Game Transfer Phenomena (GTP), in which the boundaries between reality and the game begin to blur.
Nicholas Kardaras, a New York psychotherapist and author who specializes in addiction, still remembers the very first gamer he treated who suffered from GTP: a teenage boy in a Metallica T-shirt who appeared frightened and confused as he sat in Kardaras’s office…”

I’m a bit unsure if Byrne was hearing, seeing or thinking about the dialogues from the game. I have found all these manifestations in my research on GTP.

Hearing voices from the game inside the head, as a sort of inner speech because of internalizing auditory images of speech without pronouncing a sound has been reported with video games that have repetitive dialogues and commands. “Go, Go”, “Welcome back”, “over time, over time”. Probably dialogues from online conversations can also manifest in similar ways.

Gamers have also repeatedly heard music or sound in the head as involuntary auditory imagery, very similar as when a melody that you like (or hate) gets stuck in your head! Additionally, gamers have heard sounds coming from objects associated with the game, as a more genuine form of “auditory hallucination”.

In terms of visual experiences, spontaneous visualizations of images from the game are one of the most common GTP experiences. Gamers have even seen menus that pop up in the corner of their eyes and menus or tags above people’s head.

At times Byrne thought that the dismissal bell at school sounded like a signal from the game. Misinterpretations of real life stimuli (e.g. objects, sounds) that resemble something from the game has been broadly reported. Gamers have interpreted birds as fighting jets, or interpreted doors being shut as spiders crawling.

The links between GTP and gaming addiction has not been clearly established yet, but in one of our latest studies 7% of those that have experienced GTP very frequently and in various forms were significantly more likely to consider having problematic gaming or gaming addiction. They played sessions of 6 hours or longer and 58% of those have experienced distress or/and dysfunction due to GTP.

Read the full story about Byrne here.

Game Transfer Phenomena in BBC’s Digital Human

Is technology haunting us? Or we are haunting it? Aleks Krotoski wonders.

Traditional definitions of what is alive seem limited! Toys dance, cry, smile; advanced technologies are “smart”, and trick us making us feel they are present and even alive. Traces from virtual immersion appear and people see and hear things that are not actually there.

Join my conversation with Joe Brown, Science’s Editor in Chief and Executive Editor of Wired, Leigh Haggerwood, expert on horror sound design, Tobias Revell, artist and designer who explores failed utopias and unexplained phenomena and professor Jeffrey Sconce, media and film cultural historian. -With the bonus of the participation of gamers telling us about their Game Transfer Phenomena experiences.


We try to unveil the mysteries of how technology make inanimate things come alive and how sometimes our relation with technology trigger our deepest fears and anxieties, in BBC Radio 4’s Digital Human episode: “Haunted” with a spooky tone for Halloween!

Follow this link to listening the broadcast.

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!


Game Transfer Phenomena & VR in Discovery News


In an interview for Discovery News discussing the advent of contemporary VR, Glenn McDonald summarized some of my insights about VR and Game Transfer Phenomena. Here are some extracts:

“Without a doubt, highly immersive technologies for entertainment bring exciting possibilities for the users — I’m a big fan! — but also raises important questions regarding the impact on their well-being.”

“Individual susceptibility is crucial,” Ortiz de Gortari said. “But I believe that GTP will
become more common as technology becomes more persuasive, more immersive and stimulates more sensorial channels.”

It’s important to note that GTP episoAngelica VRdes aren’t necessarily dangerous or negative, Ortiz de Gortari said. Usually, they’re just weird and funny.

Ortiz de Gortari is more optimistic. In fact, she hopes that further study of phenomena like GTP can help us navigate the virtual waters ahead.

“In general, I think that besides the psychological challenges new technologies posit to our malleable minds, there is a wonderful world of possibilities for entertainment, learning and therapy,” she said.

“Most of us will obtain benefits, but there will always be this small group that experience serious negative effects. Understanding GTP better can be useful to identify video game features likely to be associated with potentially unwanted effects — and promote those that bring benefits.”

Here you can read the full article: “Could VR Games Induce Hallucinations and Flashbacks?”

Game Transfer Phenomena in History Channel – Mexico

GTP history channel MX

Read the news at the website

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

Coverage about GTP in CSI: Cyber


It is not common that academic research inspires an international TV series.

I’m happily surprised to see my research featured on the American series CSI, as a result of my PhD at Nottingham Trent University supervised by Professor Mark D. Griffiths. My research about GTP has flourished at NTU, and I’m very proud to be able to contribute to my university.

I wonder how GTP will be translated into the different languages. If you watch the full episode in your language let me know 🙂

Here are some extracts from the story covered by NTU press.

The CSI: Cyber episode – which features Patricia Arquette and James Van Der Beek – aired in the US on May 13 and shows video gamers performing activities from a game in real-life contexts. The characters mentioned GTP, a term which Angelica coined herself, to explain the behaviour of a gamer who thought he could jump from one roof to another.

As one FBI agent said: “We just witnessed a prime example of Game Transfer Phenomena, or what we call “GTP under the influence”. There’s a documented history of videogamers experiencing involuntary impulses to perform gaming actions in the real world. The more they play the game, the more they are in the game, in real life. Corey thought that he could jump to that other balcony to escape because he’d done it so many times in the game.”

Angelica said: “I couldn’t believe it. I was already excited when I saw the text on the screen saying “Game Transfer Phenomena” but close to the end of the episode when the FBI agents were talking about it, I almost fell off my chair. It made me reflect on the implications of how research findings can be used for different purposes and agenda – and the responsibility we have as researchers about reporting our findings and in the way we report them.

“Besides the controversy that it can generate portraying gamers potentially harming themselves, the storyline does resemble gamers’ reports to a certain degree. Although gamers typically only experience thoughts and urge to do something, including climbing and jumping from buildings and rarely perform the action.

“The duality between reality and fantasy has always been popular and controversial, which is probably why GTP appealed to the drama so much. According to the stats in my blog, some people who viewed the episode have been checking if the concept of GTP is real or fabricated.”

Read the full press coverage.

Here you can read my previous post about GTP in CSI: Cyber and watch the segments.

Game Transfer Phenomena in the Nottingham Post

Nottingham Post_Angelica Ortiz

GTP adventures_Nottingham post

Click here to visit my cartoon collection “GTP adventures”.

The cartoons are based on gamers’ experiences. I create the cartoons with the goal to inform, raise awareness and demystify Game Transfer Phenomena experiences.

BBC Radio – Interview about the first GTP survey

I was interviewed by BBC Radio Nottingham about the latest GTP study done in co-authorship with Professor Mark D. Griffiths. Listen to it here.

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