Game Transfer Phenomena [Video Interview]

Transfer phenomena between the video game and the analog world.


Highlights Video Interview with Dr. Angélica Ortiz de Gortari about the GTP

Author: Dr. Flavio Escribano

Spanish Version: Download here (bajar aquí)

On May 28 we had the pleasure of holding a webinar with Dra. Angélica Ortiz de Gortari, professor from the Faculty of Psychology at the University of Bergen. She told us about a curious phenomenon that is very common and that, surely, most of the players have experienced: Game Transfer Phenomena.

Perhaps we have noticed in ourselves that we inherit, both voluntarily and involuntarily, certain “tics” or audiovisual references from video games, repeating according to which phrases of a game or, analyzing our environment automatically and strategically as we would be involved, for example, in a virtual combat game. This phenomenon has been deeply studied by Dr. Ortiz’s research team from a psychological perspective or, should we say, cyberpsychology.

The definition of GTP (Games Transfer Phenomena) encompasses a wide variety of sensory-perceptual experiences, mental processes and automatic behaviors arising from our interaction with digital images and simulations in the virtual world of video games. These, in turn, are divided into two: voluntary and involuntary phenomena.

As its name indicates, involuntary phenomena are uncontrollable and make up the most fascinating part of the GTP since they happen spontaneously, triggering thoughts and actions in the player that can interfere with aspects of their life outside the game, which could also speak to us about unknown aspects of how we learn and transfer learning.

Some of the examples of GTP in gamers are when they realize that they unconsciously pose their characters or hum the songs of the game without realizing it. According to the research, this happens in all genres and types of video games alike, although with a greater incidence in strategy, simulation, sports and MMORPG, with a special trend in ages between 15-16 years.

The transfer of video game content to real life facilitates the processes of imagination, although these transfers are highly stereotyped and, therefore, references to video games are usually to elements that generate feedback within that game context: maps or energy bars, as well as game elements that help with it. Cases have been reported where players “viewed” option menus in the middle of a conversation, even with their eyes open or at the periphery of their vision.

Another of the most interesting cases reported is when a regular both World of Warcraft and also football player translated his interpretation of his team’s status into energy bars on top of each of his teammates and each of the members of the opposing team.

At other times, players have a tendency to think that they can record or save a real-life state to return to it as if time or action had not been consumed.

In other cases, when the video game we play trains us to carry out a task very quickly and repetitively (for example, checking a scenario in search of enemies), that “tic” is repeated automatically in the real world, also very repetitively. Cases have been reported in which, when this occurs, the player begins to feel fatigue or mental exhaustion. An example of this we see when Assassin’s Creed players constantly review the buildings around them to imagine how their character would scale them.

The GTP initiative aims to define and classify all these manifestations as sensory-perceptual and behavioral influences caused by the use of the video game. How the video game can trigger processes, capacities such as procedural memory, motor skills and cognitive skills, and how, in turn, this allows us to interact with our environment in new ways. Of course there are levels of intensity and the average prevalence in the studies at this university is that approximately 75% of the investigated subjects experience some type of GTP.

The most interesting thing about Dr. Ortiz’s research is her concern to find out how to apply the GTP from the perspective of the practice of Psychology. GTP is not a pathological phenomenon itself, as it is a phenomenon derived from immersion in the game, an effect produced by the hyper-stimulation of the senses. However, the typology of its manifestation in certain individuals could help us to identify a future mental disorder, that is, the GTP could be used as an indicator, as a predictive tool for these cases.