The co-author of a study into the behaviour of computer game players has slammed the Metro and the Daily Mail for their sensationalist, biased and plain wrong reporting on "Games Transfer Phenomena". He revealed to SPOnG today that mainstream journalists twisted the findings to suit a negative story.
Professor Mark Griffiths explained to SPOnG the nature of the original study, which saw a sample of 42 gamers aged between 15 and 21 thinking about performing gaming acts in real life, and said the Metro's
report - which suggested gamers could not tell the real world from fantasy
- was inaccurate.
"For one thing, we never said that in our paper," the Professor said, "and for a second thing, the findings don't even hint at that. The press release I put out yesterday regarding this study was completely neutral, not one negative thing in there.
, they obviously had an agenda - because all [the reporter] said was that he just wanted to know about the negative stuff. I told him that the paper was primarily positive, or at least neutral. He said 'I don't want to know about that, I want to know the negative stuff.' So I just went through what we did, what we found and what we are doing next."
A copy of the study in full has been provided to SPOnG - we've included it in this story so you can take a look at it for yourself
. Prof Griffiths added that Nottingham Trent University researchers came across the concept of Games Transfer Phenomena entirely by accident, and that the findings published yesterday only represent something of a preliminary study into the subject.
"Of course 42 gamers is not a representative sample, it says in the paper that it's not and we're actually following that up now on a much larger scale, with participants from all over the world," he said.
"We weren't even looking for this. The honest answer is that we went in doing a study for something completely different. But during the interviews it became apparent that the most interesting thing to report on was this unexpected activity - people that just spontaneously talk about carry-over effects from video games into real life."
The follow-up study, which will be directly focused on investigating Games Transfer Phenomena, will have a sample of over 2000 gamers. The Professor, despite his chagrin, is taking the mainstream spin of yesterday's findings on the chin.
"I've been doing this for 25 years - you learn to take the rough with the smooth. But I stand by the research. That paper has exactly what we said and what we didn't say. The Daily Mail
had an advance copy of that paper for about 48 hours, in fact, and the journalist was reading back sections to me. So she knew what was in it, but decided to just write her own story anyway."
The Daily Mail
yesterday used the study to support a murder story
that was blamed on Rockstar's sandbox series Grand Theft Auto
.The Paper can be found in full here as a PDF.