Interactive Software Federation of Europe


Les jeux vidéo sont-ils bon pour le cerveau?

A French article (Sciences Humaines nr. 178, January 2007) by Celia Hodent-Villaman on a number of studies that show how different types of video games, despite their perceived reputation for being violent and debilitating, can improve various cognitive abilities. Health risks of gaming remain limited and can be easily avoided.

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Experiences of Time Loss Among Video Game Players

This study by the International Gaming Research Unit of Nottingham Trent University (UK) examined experiences of time loss among a relatively large group of gamers (n = 280) and results showed that time loss occurred irrespective of gender, age, or frequency of play, but was associated with particular structural characteristics of games such as their complexity, the presence of multi-levels, missions and/or high scores, multiplayer interactions, and plot. Results also demonstrated that time loss could have both positive and negative outcomes for players. Positive aspects of time loss included helping players to relax and temporarily escape from reality. Negative aspects included the sacrificing of other things in their lives, guilty feelings about wasted time, and social conflict. It is concluded that for many gamers, losing track of time is a positive experience and is one of the main reasons for playing video games.

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Does Video Game Addiction Exist?

Professors Mark D Griffiths and Mark N. O. Davies (Nottingham Trent University) take a detailed look at the concept of ‘video game addiction’. Whereas it appears to have its supporters in the popular press, there is a form of 'knee-jerk skepticism’ within the academic community - not least among those working in the field of addiction research. It is not hard to understand the skepticism. For many people, the concept of video game addiction seems far-fetched, particularly if their concepts and definitions of addiction involve the taking of drugs. Despite the predominance of drug-based definitions of addiction, there is now a growing movement that views a number of behaviors as potentially addictive (e.g., gambling, computer game playing, exercise, sex, and the internet). Such diversity has led to new, all encompassing definitions of what constitutes addictive behavior.

Having operationally defined addiction, it is the authors' belief that video game addiction does indeed exist, but that it affects only a very small minority of players. There appear to be many people who use video games excessively but are not addicted as measured by these (or any other) criteria.

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The Therapeutic Value of Video Games

Most reported effects of video games center on the alleged negative consequences, like video game addiction, aggressiveness and various medical and psychosocial effects. However, there are abundant references to the positive benefits of video games in the literature as well. Despite research into the more negative effects, for over twenty years, researchers have been using video games as a means of researching individuals. Professor Mark Griffiths from Nottingham Trent University lists the reasons that provide an insight as to why games may be useful therapeutically.

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Video Violence: Villain or Victim?

A review by Dr. Guy Cumberbatch of the research evidence concerning media violence and its effects in the real world with additional reference to video games. 

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