General GTP definition
What are Game Transfer Phenomena (GTP)?
I used the term “Game Transfer Phenomenon/a” (GTP) initially in 2010 to describe dreams, automatic thoughts, altered sensory perceptions and automatic behaviors transferred from the video game world to real life context, paying particular attention to associations established between video game elements and real life stimuli that acted as triggers of GTP.
Game-related cues as triggers are central to most GTP, but they are not always present or they are not always identified, therefore GTP have been re-defined as following:
GTP is involuntary phenomena manifesting as altered sensorial perceptions, automatic mental processes, actions and behaviors as a result of the transfer of experiences from the virtual to the real world.
Research on GTP also pays attention to cognitions and behaviors deliberatively initiated by gamers. This is done in order 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 on 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 normal population. Some individuals may be more prone to experience GTP. However, it has been found that different individuals 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.
Here you can read an introductory chapter about what is GTP and why it is important.
List of published studies on GTP.