Study: computer game addicts exhibit certain Asperger syndrome characteristics

A caricature of a PC game addict - Image 1Would you be flattered if someone were to tell you that you share some things in common with a person with Asperger syndrome? Of course not. Unfortunately, this may be the case with computer game addicts, according to a psychological study conducted by Dr. John Carlton and Ian Danforth. 

More mysteries of the mind follow right after the jump.

Computer game addicts may reflect some AS type characteristics - Image 1 It’s interesting what eye-opening findings psychological studies come up with sometimes. On one hand, you have studies disputing the link between video game violence and aggression. Other studies such as the one conducted by Dr. John Charlton and Ian Danforth, however, have found something else: computer game addicts share some personality traits with people with Asperger Syndrome (AS).

How exactly did Charlton and Danforth find out? Simple: they questioned 391 computer game players, 86% of which were male. The researchers considered the relationship between addiction, personality, and what the social scientists termed as “high engagement.”

Charlton and Danforth discovered three personality traits in addicted players that are normally associated with people with AS: neuroticism, lack of extraversion and lack of agreeableness.

Nevertheless, the researchers clarified that these gamers are not classifiable as having Asperger syndrome per se; rather, they merely share some of the same characteristics as those who do have it. This is because the gamers find it easier to empathize with computer systems rather than with other people.

According to Dr. Charlton, one may think of gamers lying somewhere along a spectrum:

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 Aspergers syndrome even further along again.

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.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.