Definition of Game Transfer Phenomena



I coined the term “Game Transfer Phenomenon/a” (GTP) in my first GTP study in 2010 to describe automatic thoughts, altered sensory perceptions and automatic behaviours transferred from the video game world to real life context.

GTP is involuntary phenomena manifesting as altered sensorial perceptions, automatic mental processes, actions and behaviours as a result of the transfer of experiences from the virtual to the real world.

Game-related cues as triggers are central to most GTP, but they are not always present, or they are not always identified.

Research on GTP also pays attention to cognitions and behaviours deliberatively initiated by gamers. This is done to establish differences between voluntary and involuntary phenomena, endogenous and exogenous phenomena and, self-generated and non-self-generated phenomena since research suggests that the psychological and potential risks of GTP depend thereupon.

GTP take into account all human senses (e.g., sight, hearing, touch). They can manifest in a single sensory modality,  or across several sensory modalities (e.g., seeing video game elements while hearing the music of the game).

Research on GTP is concerned about the video games’ structural characteristics, in-game phenomena, in-game behaviours,  and playing habits.

A multimodal and eclectic framework is used to explain and understand the GTP experiences, but cognitive and behavioural psychology is mainly used to explain the gamers’ experiences.

It is important to remember that some of the experiences can be misunderstood as pathological due to their similarity with symptoms of mental conditions (e.g., hallucinations). However, the GTP experiences appear to be induced in susceptible individuals by a prolonged exposition to virtual stimuli and repetitive activities in the game environment. These experiences can usually be explained by phenomena experienced among the non-clinical population. Some individuals may be more prone to experience GTP. However, it has been found that different people have had similar experiences in the same games.

Certainly, transfer phenomena are not exclusively experienced after playing video games; the video games’ structural characteristics and the nature of the activity in the game appear to facilitate the transfer effects.

GTP tell us about everyday life cognitive abilities and automatic mental processes, physiological mechanisms. However, the studies about GTP invite us to reflect about our vulnerability to the exposure to synthetic stimuli and the challenges that the human mind affront due to the fantastic technology advances that are still to come.

List of published studies on GTP.

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