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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

1
Shalvata Mental Health Center, Hod Hasharon, Israel.
2
Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.
3
Cybereason Inc., Tel Aviv, Israel.

Abstract

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.

PMID:
28708879
PMCID:
PMC5510843
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0181209
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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