The first-ever study on Game Transfer Phenomena (GTP) in 2011 revealed that gamers at least temporarily, have seen or heard elements from video games, or have thought or done things in the real world as in the video games. The initial study was based on interviews, some with minors. For instances, gamers reported seeing menus popping up in front of their eyes and feeling tactile sensations of gamepads when nothing was there. Some GTP experiences reported in the first study included:

“When I went to a meeting with one of my teachers and she said something about guitars I suddenly saw the frets and the notes before my eyes and I could barely even hear her” (Eva, 16).

“I started seeing health bars above people’s heads. It was mostly when I played football in school in the breaks. We were losing in a game and when we started turning it to our advantage. I started to see stuff almost like some kind of “bar” when I look down that I could use to, I don’t know, do something strange” (Charlie, 17).

 “When just ‘Cause 2’ got released, I played it a lot for about two weeks. But when I tired of the game, and I was sitting at my windows, four floors up, I thought ‘It would be so awesome if I could [tie a] hook to that car and get to town that away’ and felt like pressing the ‘F’ [but­ton on the game pad] but it was like a reflex” (Milton, 19).

“I was walking in the woods near my home and I just wanted to walk on the path because then it’s less likely to get attacked my mobs” (Linus, 19).

 “When I had played ‘Bionic Commando’ for a long time, in reality, it felt so weird not to have the Bionic arm” (Tobias, 15).

To date, studies about GTP have been carried out with 6,000 gamers. Most gamers have not experienced negative consequences, and some think of their GTP experiences as something positive. Although, at least 20% have reported distress or dysfunction.

The new study: “Turkish validation of the Game Transfer Phenomena Scale (GTPS): Measuring altered perceptions, automatic mental processes and actions and behaviours associated with playing video games” was published in the Journal of Telematics and Informatics. It involves a survey with 954 Turkish gamers, 15 to 35 years old.

The study was conducted by Dr Muhterem Dindar and Dr Angelica Ortiz de Gortari, from the University of Oulu and the Psychology and Neuroscience of Cognition Research Unit at the University of Liège respectively. Dr Dindar is an expert in learning and education technologies, and Dr Ortiz de Gortari is an expert on Game Transfer Phenomena and a Postdoc Marie Curie fellow.

One of the most interesting findings in the current study was that young people (15 to 17 years old) showed frequency of GTP. Minors were more likely to experience altered body experiences such as keep feeling the movement from the game after playing and automatic mental processes such as thinking to use video game elements in real life or having the urge to perform something from the game in real life contexts in comparison to adults (18 or older).

The findings strengthen the conceptualization of GTP and shows that the items of the original GTP scale are reliable even in a population with a specific background (i.e., Turkish sample that included minors).

Other interesting findings:

  • Similar as in previous studies, no differences were found between genders. Although, the majority of the participants were males.
  • Gaming habits are relevant for GTP to occur. Session length seems to be more important than playing frequency. Although, a comparison between those who have experienced GTP and those who have never experienced GTP showed that session length is only significantly associated with altered body perceptions and behaviours and action GTP.

In general, the study highlights the challenges of investigating involuntary phenomena (e.g., intrusive thoughts, hallucinations) as unified phenomena since each form of manifestation of GTP may be influenced by different factors.

According to Dr Ortiz de Gortari, who originally initiated the investigation of Game Transfer Phenomena, “future studies should investigate the underlying cognitive, perceptual and emotional mechanisms that may make young people more susceptible to experience GTP, and examine the impact of GTP on their well-being.”

Download your free copy to read the full findings.

The most prevalent GTP sub-scales and types reported in the current study:

Further readings

  • Dindar, M., & Ortiz de Gortari, A. B. (2017). Turkish Validation of the Game Transfer Phenomena Scale (GTPS): Measuring altered perceptions, automatic mental processes and actions and behaviours associated with playing video games. . Telematics and Informatics, 34(8), 1802-1813.
  • Ortiz de Gortari, A. B. (2016). The Game Transfer Phenomena framework: Investigating altered perceptions, automatic mental processes and behaviors induced by virtual immersion. Annual Review of CyberTherapy and Telemedicine, 14, 9-15.
  • Ortiz de Gortari, A. B., & Griffiths, M. D. (2017). Beyond the Boundaries of the Game: The Interplay Between In-Game Phenomena, Structural Characteristics of Video Games, and Game Transfer Phenomena A2 – Gackenbach, Jayne. In J. Bown (Ed.), Boundaries of Self and Reality Online (pp. 97-121). San Diego: Academic Press.
  • Ortiz de Gortari, A. B., Oldfield, B., & Griffiths, M. D. (2016). An empirical examination of factors associated with Game Transfer Phenomena severity. Computers In Human Behavior, 64, 274-284.
  • Ortiz de Gortari, A. B., & Griffiths, M. D. (2016). Prevalence and characteristics of Game Transfer Phenomena: A descriptive survey study. International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, 32(6), 470-480.
  • Ortiz de Gortari, A. B., Aronsson, K., & Griffiths, M. D. (2011). Game Transfer Phenomena in video game playing: A qualitative interview study. International Journal of Cyber Behavior, Psychology and Learning, 1(3), 15-33.