Opinions and Culture

Video Games: Brain Gain or Drain?

Jayne Gackenbach Ph.D.

Video Games: Brain Gain or Drain? – Transitioning between real and virtual

In this show we will be discussing the borders between virtual and real. My guest is Dr. Greg Garvey who is with the Department of Visual and Performing Arts at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut. I chatted with Greg at the 2012 meeting of Towards a Science of Consciousness about his chapter in my book, Video Game Play and Consciousness. We talked about how gamers, as well as users of the online virtual worlds, navigate back and forth between the domains of the real and the virtual. He explained the case of Devin Moore who in 2003, appeared to have acted out a scenario from Grand Theft Auto leading to the deaths of three police officers. When considering the virtual world of Second Life Dr. Garvey observes that descriptions of the experience of being ‘in-world’ bore some resemblance to several of the diagnostic criteria for dissociative disorders. In our interview Garvey talks about his process of investigating this conjecture asking these questions: how do game players and users of virtual worlds manage the transitions back and forth between the real and the virtual? How do they distinguish what’s real and not real?