University of Calgary

Unlocking Skills: The Power of Brain Games

Submitted by alumni on Mon, 10/31/2016 - 21:26.

Unlocking Skills: The Power of Brain Games

Don't scoff. Those gamers holed up in basements might well become tomorrow’s brain surgeons. Research indicates the “training” players receive through video games may provide just the job skills they’ll need.
By Jennifer Allford

When Does Gaming Become a Problem?

Video game addiction is not considered a psychiatric disorder. At least, not yet

“Our understanding of video game addiction is still in its infancy,” says David Hodgins, professor of clinical psychology and director of UCalgary’s Addictive Behaviours Laboratory. “But anecdotal evidence and early research, some of which has been conducted at UCalgary, confirms that some individuals play video games in an addictive and harmful manner.”

The American Psychiatric Association reports the need to conduct more research into gaming addiction. In the meantime, it has included “Internet Use Gaming Disorder” in an appendix of its latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), along with criteria that characterize the hypothetical psychiatric disorder:

    • Preoccupation or obsession with games
    • Symptoms of withdrawal including irritability, anxiety or sadness
    • Unsuccessful attempts to cut down or stop play
    • A loss of interest in other activities
    • Lying to others about the amount of time spent gaming
    • The development of tolerance, leading to the need to play longer for the same effect
    • Continued excessive use, despite knowing that it is causing problems
    • Using gaming to relieve a negative mood, like worry or feeling sad or lonely
    • Jeopardizing or losing a significant relationship, job or educational opportunity

A self-confessed gaming addict and entrepreneur, Calgarian Cam Adair, recently turned his troubled life around by launching Game Quitters — a support community for video game addiction. Curious? Visit gamequitters.comU