Unfortunately, the study has been published in an obscure journal which means I’ve not been able to read it in full, although the write-up quotes the lead researcher, Mark Griffiths:
“The academic literature goes back to 1993,” says Griffiths. “There was a case of a woman who had auditory hallucinations; she just couldn’t get the tune of the game she was playing out of her head – it was very intrusive. But what came out of our pilot research were lots of different experiences, some that were auditory, some visual and some were tactile. We had the example of a teacher who dropped his pen and immediately reached for a joypad button to retrieve it, as though he were in a game.
“Most of the experiences were neutral and often quite positive. We distinguished between what we call automatic GTP, which are almost like reflexes or classically conditioned responses, and those where players deliberately take elements out of the game and work them into their day-to-day routines.”
Needless to say, the tabloids got carried away and ran with ‘gamers losing touch with reality’-type stories although it sounds like the authors of the study were probably a little over-enthusiastic with their own descriptions.
Despite this, it sounds like an interesting study describing how conditioned responses and perceptual expectations learnt in video games might be get triggered in other situations.
I knew someone would get round to studying those weird thoughts about Tomb Raider at some point.
Link to Guardian article on ‘game transfer phenomena’