Send to

Choose Destination
PLoS One. 2017 Jul 14;12(7):e0181209. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0181209. eCollection 2017.

Real and virtual worlds alike: Adolescents' psychopathology is reflected in their videogame virtual behaviors.

Author information

Shalvata Mental Health Center, Hod Hasharon, Israel.
Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.
Cybereason Inc., Tel Aviv, Israel.


Current research refers to videogames as a constant variable. However, games today are designed to be highly interactive and versatile: two players may be using the same videogame, but as a result of different using patterns, the game will not necessarily encompass the same content and gameplay. The current study examined the possible relationship between psychopathology and in-game playing patterns. We hypothesized that adolescents would play videogames differently, in a manner that would reflect their particular psychopathologies. We examined 47 male adolescents from three diagnostic groups: those suffering from externalizing psychopathologies, internalizing psychopathologies and controls. We performed a high-resolution examination of their gameplay, using in-game quantitative statistics mechanisms of two fundamentally different games, a structured racing game and an unstructured adventure game. While there was no difference in the groups' using patterns of the structured game, there was a high variability between the groups' using patterns when they were using a non-structured game. These findings suggest that virtual behavior in unstructured games is reflective of adolescent-players psychopathology, and might shed light on an unexplored facet of videogames research. Possible implications are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center