Videogamers hear sounds long after playing

Jul 31 2014, 18:30 IST
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SummaryLong videogame sessions can cause gamers to hear sounds - such as explosions, screams...

Long videogame sessions can cause gamers to hear sounds - such as explosions, screams and music - long after they have finished playing, according to a new research.

The study, led by Nottingham Trent University's International Gaming Research Unit, is the first to examine hearing replays of auditory cues from videogames after stopping playing.

Psychologists visited online videogame forums and collected data from 1,244 gamers who had experienced 'game transfer phenomena' - perceptions, cognitions and behaviours influenced by videogame playing.

Of these, 155, or 12 per cent, claimed to have had auditory experiences as a result of their gaming.

Most of the experiences involved hearing sound effects, music and characters' voices from the game.

Vehicles, lasers, bullets, beeping, explosions, swords, groans, screams, falling coins, ringing and even breathing from the game were among the sounds heard by gamers.

They appeared either occasionally or persistently and could occur without triggers, or following a 'real world' cue.

Some gamers initially believed that the sounds were coming from an external source, or that something which occurs in the game was about to happen.

One gamer reported hearing someone constantly whispering 'death' for a few days, while another heard the words 'go, go, go' in his head when he wanted people to move in the subway, researchers said.

Sounds appear to have been heard after playing very long sessions - such as two days straight, or through the night - and occurred during daily routines such as sleeping, waking, walking and driving.

Some gamers reported that they had concerns about these replays and were worried about 'going crazy', felt they were 'scary', 'annoying', 'maddening' and 'disconcerting'. Hearing the sounds also provoked sleep deprivation in some gamers.

"This research supports findings of previous studies into game transfer phenomena, which show that videogame playing can induce pseudo hallucinatory-like experiences," said Angelica Ortiz De Gortari, a psychology researcher in Nottingham Trent University's School of Social Sciences.

"These experiences can sometimes result in illogical thoughts and behaviours. It's important to help gamers understand their experiences since re-experiencing sounds and voices may provoke distress, especially when associated with dangerous situations in the game," Gortari said.

The study is published in the International Journal of Cyber Behaviour, Psychology and Learning.

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