Gaming: A Digital Drug Addiction?
8:19 AM | Cord Kruse | 10 comments
Research conducted at the Charité University Medicine Berlin, in Germany suggests that excessive computer gaming may exhibit the same hallmarks as drug addiction. In tests of male gamers in their twenties the researchers discovered that addicted gamers felt intense cravings to play their favorite games and used the games as a way to regulate mood.
They showed them a variety of visual cues and asked the volunteers to rate how they felt about the images. All had normal reactions to neutral images, such as chairs, and even to alcohol-related images, despite the fact that all the participants drank alcohol. To read the entire article in New Scientist article click the link below.
New Scientist: Gaming Fanatics Like Drug Addicts?
But excessive computer game players showed classic signs of craving when they were presented with freeze-frames from some of their favourite games – they desperately wanted to play, expected to feel better once they did, and fully intended to indulge again as soon as possible.
In another test, the researchers monitored the response of a large muscle in the eye, to see how much the volunteers could be startled while looking at a game-related image. Scientists theorise that the most pleasing stimuli prompts the smallest of startle reflexes. They found that excessive game players could not be easily startled, unlike the controls.
Grüsser says that addictions stem from relying too heavily on one coping strategy, which eventually becomes the only activity that can activate the dopamine system and bring a person relief. “It’s the same mechanism in all addicts,” she says.
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