A new study claims that videogame “addicts” exhibit many of the same negative personality traits as people diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome.
The research, conducted by Dr. John Charlton of the University of Bolton in the U.K. and Ian Danforth of Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, found that individuals who showed more signs of addiction to videogames showed heightened personality traits of neuroticism, lack of extroversion and lack of agreeableness. All three are considered signs of Asperger’s, described as “a variety of high-functioning autism.”
The researchers clarified that videogame addicts “share some of the same characteristics because they find it easier to empathize with computer systems than with other people,” not that they had or were more prone to have Asperger’s, according to a Next Generation report. The results of the study, which covered 391 videogame players of whom 86 percent were male, were presented on Thursday to the British Psychological Society’s Annual Conference in Dublin, Ireland.
“The thinking in the field is that there is a scale upon 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-empathizing, systemizing end of the spectrum, with people with Asperger’s syndrome even further along again,” Charlton said. “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.”