Category Archives: News

“Little Nightmares” & Game Transfer Phenomena in Die Zeit

I’m not a fan of nightmares, but “Little Nightmares” is something I’m happy to experience!

The horror puzzle platform game developed by Swedish developers Tarsier Studios received high praise when it was released a couple of weeks ago.

In his article in Die Zeit Achim Fehrenbach goes into research on dreams and Game Transfer Phenomena.

The experiences we get from playing video games are pervasive, and game contents can appear in dreams and even when we are awake as spontaneous thoughts and sensory phenomena such as visual, auditory and tactile sensations.

Research of my colleague Jayne Gackenbach has found that frequent gamers tend to have more bizarre dreams and that playing video games have a sort of “protective mechanism against nightmares,” since gamers are used to be confronted with dangerous and bizarre situations when they play.

Whitney Reynolds writes this in her review about the game in Polygon:

“As I drifted off after an evening of playing the spooky puzzle-platformer, my mind filled with images of unnaturally long arms reaching for tiny hooded figures and I woke with my heart racing.”

I have also played it a bit, but after my first session the game contents have not popped up in my dreams or during daytime.

Part of the bizarreness of ”Little Nightmares” is that you play this tiny, cute and seemingly vulnerable character with thin legs and small feet, almost fully hidden inside a yellow raincoat, in a gigantic and disproportionate world.

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Playing in a giant environment reminds me of one gamer’s experience in my research. The gamer reported feeling small after having played “Castle Crashers” where the environment is also gigantic. I wonder if something similar happens to the players of “Little Nightmares.”


Castle Crashers

The game is filled with darkness, shiny figures, sounds of heart palpitations when you are starving, etc. The guy with the extremely long arms is great! Every time something caught you, you expect to be eaten or smashed, but so far the game does not show such violent content. I’m happy the game does not show my failure in a crude way, but curiously I’m missing the extra depiction of failure every time I got caught by a “monster.” This paradox is without a doubt a topic to discuss on another occasion.

Have “Little Nightmares” had any effect on you?

Have you perceived or had the sensation that things around you change of size or perhaps you have felt smaller? Have you had some visual experience involving the yellow coat or perhaps some other experience?

For my  German speaking readers, follow this link for the full article in Die Zeit.


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: The Original AR!?

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I just found out about the article “Game Transfer Phenomena: The original AR” by Sophie Turner. It was published in the magazine Unwinnable that covers video game culture, art and more. This edition is on The Body Horror. It is a magazine I will follow! Thanks for this Sophie!

I like that title! “Game Transfer Phenomena: The original AR“. It resonates with thoughts from an old post of mine:

“There are still no holograms or touch interfaces that float in front our eyes, and the Google glasses are just a small step on the way. No artificial technology is needed, only the most powerful machinery never invented, the human mind! Suddenly the real scenery of some gamers appeared tinted by colours and textures, shadows, auras around objects, menus, power bars, and pixelations.”

Here is an extract from the article in Unwinnable about GTP:

“Ever been living your mundane, day-to-day life and reached for your nonexistent
Portal gun after noticing a blank white wall or had to fight the
urge to pick through some particularly useful looking foliage for a Stimpak?

Perhaps you’ve curled up in bed after a long Tetris session and continued
seeing the game behind your eyes, or have reached for the save button in a
perilous situation before being hit by the crushing reality of living in the real
world? If so, you’ve experienced Game Transfer Phenomena (GTP), and you’re
definitely not alone.

GTP is a term coined by psychologist and self-confessed gamer Angelica
B. Ortiz de Gortari, who began studying the phenomena after her own
experiences with them.”

Continue reading on page 106 in the magazine.

GTP in the newspaper El Norte- Vida (México)

Mas comunes GTPLe la nota “Videojuegos: Su effecto mental” por Gabriela Villegas Ramírez en el periódico El Norte en México sección Vida.

Tu compañero está platicando contigo y tratas de prestarle atención, pero no puedes dejar de ver unas barras que flotan sobresucabeza,queindican que su energía se están agotando y a ti te preocupa que él desaparezca.

Aunque parece ciencia ficción, estosfenómenoscerebrales son frecuentesen los “gamers” y jugadores casuales de videojuegos, y tienen un nombre: Game Transfer Phenomena (GTP).

El GTP, que se podría traducir como “fenómeno de transferenciadejuego”, ocurre cuando elementos del videojuego se trasladan a la vida real, ya sea por medio de alucinaciones, sensaciones o acciones automáticas, explica Angélica Ortiz de Gortari, investigadora y doctora por la Nottingham Trent University, en Inglaterra. Continua leyendo

Game Transfer Phenomena in TV2 Norway

tv2-defaultI was interviewed by Torbjørn Brandeggen from TV2 Norway. Read the full news here
tv2 Angelica

GTP in CSI:Cyber. Full segment.

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

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”

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