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Current research refers to videogames as a constant variable. However, games today are designed to be highly interactive and versatile: two players may be using the same videogame, but as a result of different using patterns, the game will not necessarily encompass the same content and gameplay. The current study examined the possible relationship between psychopathology and in-game playing patterns. We hypothesized that adolescents would play videogames differently, in a manner that would reflect their particular psychopathologies. We examined 47 male adolescents from three diagnostic groups: those suffering from externalizing psychopathologies, internalizing psychopathologies and controls. We performed a high-resolution examination of their gameplay, using in-game quantitative statistics mechanisms of two fundamentally different games, a structured racing game and an unstructured adventure game. While there was no difference in the groups' using patterns of the structured game, there was a high variability between the groups' using patterns when they were using a non-structured game. These findings suggest that virtual behavior in unstructured games is reflective of adolescent-players psychopathology, and might shed light on an unexplored facet of videogames research. Possible implications are discussed.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: PloS one
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