Why Gamers Might Lose Track of Time While Playing

November 1, 2011 -

If you have ever wondered why you sometimes lose track of time when playing a particularly good video game, new research may have the answer. New research suggests it may be related to a theory called "time perspective." Time perspective assumes the existence of three "temporal frames" in the human brain - past, present, and future. This theory is thoroughly explained in Psych Central:

"The initial idea of time perspective assumed the existence of three temporal frames in the human mind—past, present, and future. Within this theory, a mind can shift attention between these frames, that is, a mind can focus on past experiences (past frame), present stimuli (present frame), or anticipated future events (future frame).

Zimbardo’s empirical verification of the idea brought two main findings. First, people do not use each temporal frame with equal frequency; they usually prefer one frame, which they use more often than others, and this preference is relatively stable in time.

Second, it is useful to divide both past and present frames into two independent factors (past positive and past negative; present hedonistic and present fatalistic) because they represent different mental characteristics with different correlates. Thus, five time perspective factors emerged as five personality factors."

With that theory in mind, researchers hypothesized that they would find a "significant positive relationship between present (hedonistic and fatalistic) factors scores and the amount of time spent playing MMORPGs and a significant negative relationship with future factor scores."

To do this they measured time perspective and the amount of time playing MMORPGs using 154 Czech respondents (141 men and 13 women). Test subjects were recruited in MMORPG Internet forums.

Researcher found the mean hours per week played was 28 hours, with a standard deviation of around 19 hours. The mean hours played per session was right around 4 hours, with a standard deviation of around 2.45 hours.

After examining the data, which was self-reported by participants, researchers found that time perspective was connected to how frequently someone played video games. In other words, the amount of play time directly correlated to a lower level of future time perspective and higher levels of present time perspective — "especially present fatalistic."

The imbalance of present factors toward present fatalistic is noteworthy because the findings differ from other activities such as drug abuse and gambling, where present hedonistic factor was the key variable. Present fatalistic is supposedly connected to feelings of dissatisfaction, aggression, and depression.

Researchers also found that “regardless of motivation for playing, it seems that future orientation prevents extensive playing, probably via time managing skills [sic].”

Basically the study finds that gaming is not like gambling or substance abuse - at least in the small sample group. Instead it is more like a good book or a movie - a form of escapism used to relief the stress of everyday life.

Naturally the findings may not apply to the general public (Americans, for example) due to culture, the sample size of the group, etc. In other words more research is needed to come to some definitive conclusion.

Source: Psych Central


Comments

Re: Why Gamers Might Lose Track of Time While Playing

"After examining the data, which was self-reported by participants,"

When it comes to how much time is spent gaming I don't think self reporting cuts it.

Re: Why Gamers Might Lose Track of Time While Playing

in short... "Time flies when you're having fun."

Re: Why Gamers Might Lose Track of Time While Playing

Hrm.... I wonder what would happen if they redid the study using more planning oriented games like EvE, Civ, or even Minecraft, where it can be said the player is mostly thinking in the future frame.

Re: Why Gamers Might Lose Track of Time While Playing

Up until the last paragraph confirmed it, I was gonna say: Isn't this just the same as losing track of what's going on around you when you get immersed in a good book, or so intently focused on a piece of work (painting for example)? Not really sure why games needed to isolated for the study.

Re: Why Gamers Might Lose Track of Time While Playing

Not so surprising, really, although this study is still interesting. Humanity's sense of time is one of the other actual human senses that grade-school teachers don't tell you about, like proprioception.

 
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
Andrew EisenTo the surprise of no one, that HD remake of the first level of Super Mario 64 has been DMCA'd. http://mario64-erik.u85.net/Web.html03/30/2015 - 10:54pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.destructoid.com/dark-souls-ii-scholar-of-the-first-sin-upgrade-and-pricing-systems-detailed-289743.phtml Dark Souls 2 pricing revealed, is only mildly confusing.03/30/2015 - 6:02pm
MaskedPixelantehttps://twitter.com/yugiohtas/status/582642955489431552 Roger Slifer sent to the graveyard.03/30/2015 - 3:49pm
james_fudgeEZK: it sounds like a carry-over bug from Demon's Souls.03/30/2015 - 1:29pm
Andrew EisenJust watched a clip of one of his correspondent appearances on The Daily Show. Seems like he'll be a good fit.03/30/2015 - 1:26pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/31/arts/television/trevor-noah-to-succeed-jon-stewart-on-the-daily-show.html The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.03/30/2015 - 1:17pm
E. Zachary KnightApparently there is an item duping glitch in Bloodborne. I loved those glitches in old Final Fantasy games. They were great. Nothing like infinite Excaliburs for Ninja's to throw.03/30/2015 - 12:58pm
Papa Midnightis no market for these games. There will be no intreospection whatsoever. It's either that or they blame piracy.03/30/2015 - 11:35am
Papa MidnightI'd like to take this time to reiterate the utter mess of a PC port that is Dead or Alive 5, which is missing significant amounts of features on PC in comparison to it's console counter-part. When sales go poorly, I'm certain the excuse will be that PC03/30/2015 - 11:34am
E. Zachary KnightSleep and sanity? No need for that here. Check out our experience at Super! BitCon as we made a game while visitors got to play games. Game Jamming During A Game Convention: A Convention Jam Tale. http://tinyurl.com/ogx46t703/30/2015 - 10:43am
ZippyDSMleePlank? PPLLAAANNKKK!!!!! :P03/30/2015 - 10:05am
MaskedPixelantehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXYXuXX48m8 Take the "no-prank pledge" today.03/30/2015 - 9:11am
ZippyDSMleecrap around. It’s quite annoying but kinda fun like galaxy...even if has the power ups I hate the planets... oh and here comes a C&D in 3...2.....03/29/2015 - 11:45pm
ZippyDSMleeI was never that much of a fan they messed up the power ups, the level design was good enough for the time but ...meh.. Playing through sunshine again since I am no longer a south paw the controls are still stupid there's little to no options to change cr03/29/2015 - 11:45pm
Cheater87http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/parents-could-be-reported-to-police-if-children-play-violent-video-games-like-call-of-duty-and-grand-theft-auto-10141697.html03/29/2015 - 11:45pm
ZippyDSMleehttp://www.afterdawn.com/news/article.cfm/2015/03/29/click-here-to-play-super-mario-64-in-hd03/29/2015 - 11:45pm
ZippyDSMleeMedia mafia wants you to sleep wif the fishes!03/29/2015 - 11:44pm
MechaCrashThe MPAA and RIAA are a pack of extortionists and thugs, and they both need to be destroyed.03/29/2015 - 10:19pm
ZippyDSMleehttps://torrentfreak.com/mpaa-wanted-less-fair-use-in-copyright-curriculum-150329/03/29/2015 - 10:17pm
PHX CorpI have to say somthing about an injustice in the Xbox video Store, the first 6 Star Wars films are not available in either SD or HD03/29/2015 - 6:17pm
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician