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Gamers still hear gunfire, screams and falling coins days after playing, study finds

One gamer reported hearing someone constantly whispering "death"
  • @christophhooton

A study led by Nottingham Trent University’s International Gaming Research Unit has found that some gamers still hear in-game sounds in real life days after playing.

The research, which comes across a bit VIDEO GAMES BREED MURDERERS but has some interesting findings all the same, collected data from 1,244 gamers who had experienced ‘game transfer phenomena’ – perceptions, cognitions and behaviours influenced by video game playing.

Most of the experiences reported revolved around sound effects, music and characters' voices from games, particularly from shooters and RPGs, with common sounds heard including vehicles, lasers, bullets, beeping, explosions, swords, groans, screams, ringing and breathing, though 'falling coins' would appear to be a hangover from a platformer gaming session.

One gamer reported hearing someone constantly whispering "death" for a few days meanwhile, with another claiming to hear the words ‘go, go, go’ in his head when he wanted people to move in the subway.

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Whisperings of 'death' were reported

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

The sounds appear to have been heard after long sessions, such as two days straight or through the night, with some respondents reporting that they had concerns about these replays, were worried that they were "going crazy", and felt the sounds were "scary", "annoying", "maddening" and "disconcerting".

An earlier study by the team found a similar situation with visuals from gamers remaining in players' heads, such as menus popping up in front of their eyes and power bars appearing above people’s heads.

"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 at the university.

As were 'falling coin' sounds

"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."

Researcher Professor Mark Griffiths added: “Game Transfer Phenomena appears to be commonplace among excessive gamers and most of these phenomena are short-lasting, temporary, and resolve of their own accord.

“For some gamers, the phenomena are conditioned responses, therefore the best way for the tiny minority that may have longer lasting phenomena is to simply cut down the amount they play."