Games in Healthcare

Study: Video Gaming Addicts Display Signs of Asperger’s

Dr. John CharltonA study released in April, 2008 finds that some hardcore gamers show similar traits to individuals living with Asperger’s Syndrome, a mild form of Autism.

Dr. John Charlton of the University of Bolton and Ian Danforth of Whitman College, USA released details of their research at this year’s British Psychological Society’s Annual Conference, in Dublin.

They interviewed 391 computer gamers, 86 percent of them men and compared their level of engagement to a game with personality traits. The researchers found that the closer a player got to addiction the more likely he or she was to display negative personality traits. Read More...

As participants showed more signs of addiction they would increasingly be described by three personality traits normally linked with Asperger’s Syndrome: neuroticism, lack of extraversion and lack of agreeableness.

While the study does not identify these individuals as suffering from Asperger’s, they do share similar social tendencies, which make it easier for them to relate to a machine rather than with another person.

"The thinking in the field is that there is a scale along which people, even those considered to be ‘normal’, can be placed upon. And that people such as engineers, mathematicians and computer scientists are nearer to the non-empathising, systemising, end of the spectrum, with people with Asperger’s syndrome even further along again,” said Dr Charlton, through a press release.

"Our research supports the idea that people who are heavily involved in game playing may be nearer to autistic spectrum disorders than people who have no interest in gaming."