Addiction, Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, Technology / 29.10.2019 Interview with: Zsolt Demetrovics PhD and Orsolya Király PhD Department of Clinical Psychology and Addiction Institute of Psychology ELTE Eötvös Loránd University What is the background for this study? Response: Gaming disorder has recently been recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a mental disorder. Research examining gaming motivations and mental health among video gamers and in relation with gaming disorder is increasing but different types of gamers such as recreational gamers and esport gamers are not commonly distinguished. Esport is form of electronic sport and refers to playing video games in a professional (competitive) manner in sports-like tournaments. Much like in the case of traditional sports, esport players and teams are sponsored, tournaments are broadcasted and followed by large audiences and have large financial prizes. Therefore, being an esports player in now a real career opportunity for teenagers and young adults who like playing video games.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Pediatrics, Sleep Disorders, Technology, Weight Research / 13.12.2017 Interview with: “Video Game Addicts” by Michael Bentley is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr. Marsha Novick, MD Associate professor of pediatrics and family and community medicine, Penn State College of Medicine What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The results of this study solidify some well-established data concerning childhood obesity – namely that children who watch more television and have a more sedentary lifestyle are more likely to have an overweight or obese BMI compared with those who are more active. The survey results highlight some associations between increased technology use and difficulty with sleep quantity in children and adolescents. The data suggest:
  • ​​Increased technology use at bedtime, namely television, cell phones, video games and computers, is associated with a decrease in the amount of sleep children are getting. These children were more likely to be tired in the morning and less likely to eat breakfast.
  • Specifically, children who reported watching TV or playing video games before bed got an average of 30 minutes less sleep than those who did not, while kids who used their phone or a computer before bed averaged an hour less of sleep than those who did not.
  • The data also suggests that children with overweight or obesity were more likely to have trouble falling asleep and trouble staying asleep than their normal BMI counterparts
  • When children were reported by their parents to use one form of technology at bedtime, they were more likely to use another form of technology as well.
Author Interviews, Pediatrics, Technology / 08.12.2017 Interview with: “Cici loves full screen video on the XO” by Mike Lee is licensed under CC BY 2.0Sarah E. Domoff, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Psychology Central Michigan University Research Faculty Affiliate Center for Human Growth and Development University of Michigan What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There has been growing concern that children may become "addicted" to screens, such as tablets and other mobile devices. Children at younger ages are now "owning" their own mobile devices and have increased access to gaming apps and other rewarding functions of these devices. Until now, there hasn't been a parent report form available to capture addictive like use of screen media in children. The Problematic Media Use Measure (PMUM) assesses addictive-like use of screen media in children under 12 years and has strong psychometrics. We found that the PMUM does a better job in predicting psychosocial difficulties in children, over and above hours of screen time. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Ophthalmology, Pediatrics, Technology / 11.11.2016 Interview with: Krista Kelly, PhD Postdoctoral Fellow Crystal Charity Ball Pediatric Vision Evaluation Center Retina Foundation of the Southwest Dallas, TX 75231 What is the background for this study? Response: Amblyopia is one of the most common causes of monocular impairment in children, affecting 1 or 2 children in every US classroom. Patching of the fellow eye has been used for decades to improve visual acuity in the amblyopic eye. But patching does not always restore normal vision and does not teach the two eyes to work together. A novel technique originally designed by Drs Robert Hess and Ben Thompson at McGill University that works to reduce interocular suppression by rebalancing the contrast between the eyes has shown promising results in amblyopic adults. Dr Eileen Birch at the Retina Foundation of the Southwest worked with Dr Hess to adapt this contrast re-balancing approach to an iPad game platform suitable for children. Her research showed that the games were successful in improving visual acuity in amblyopic children as well. However, these initial games were rudimentary and resulted in low compliance. (more…)
Author Interviews, Education, Pediatrics, Technology / 14.09.2016 Interview with: Jesus Pujol, MD Director of the MRI Research Unit. Department of Radiology. Hospital del Mar Barcelona What is the background for this study? Response: The pros and cons of video gaming in children have been extensively debated. There are relevant amounts of data indicating both the positive and negative effects of video games. Nevertheless, a key question for many parents remains unanswered: How long should children play? To provide some clarity, we have investigated the relationship between weekly video game use and certain cognitive abilities and conduct-related problems. (more…)
Author Interviews, Weight Research / 05.06.2015 Interview with: Aidan Gribbon M.Sc., CSEP-CEP From the Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Response: The background for the study is that sedentary pursuits, such as video games, are omni-present in the daily lives of adolescents. Manufacturers of active video games (AVG) have been marketing them as a ‘healthy’ alternative to seated video games, with the possibility of preventing/treating obesity in this age group. Although, active video games have been shown to acutely increase energy expenditure over their seated counterparts, no study has examined their compensatory adjustments in energy expenditure or energy intake. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Response: The main finding of this paper was that although active video games are not associated with an increased food intake, they are compensated for by a decrease in physical activity such that their benefit of a reduction in the energy gap underlying weight gain is offset within 24 hours. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, General Medicine / 06.11.2014

Christopher J. Ferguson PhD. Associate Professor and Chair of Psychology Department of Psychology Stetson University DeLand, FL Interview with: Christopher J. Ferguson PhD. Associate Professor and Chair of Psychology Department of Psychology Stetson University DeLand, FL Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Ferguson: People have debated whether media violence contributes to societal violence for centuries.  A lot of individual laboratory experiments have tried to answer this question, but results have always tended to be inconsistent.  Not too much data had yet looked at concordance between media violence and societal violence.  In the current study I examined levels of movie violence across the 20th century, and video game violence in the latter part of the 20th, into the 21st century.  Results generally indicted that it was not possible to demonstrate that media violence consumption correlated with increased crime in society. (more…)
Education, HIV, Yale / 24.07.2014

Lynn E. Fiellin, M.D. Associate Professor of Medicine Director, play2PREVENT Lab Yale University School of Medicine New Haven, CT Interview with Lynn E. Fiellin, M.D. Associate Professor of Medicine Director, play2PREVENT Lab Yale University School of Medicine New Haven, CT 06510 Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Fiellin: The current findings are part of a larger study evaluating an interactive evidence-based video game, PlayForward: Elm City Stories, developed on the iPad and targeting risk reduction and HIV prevention in 333 young teens (ages 11-14). The larger study is examining a range of outcomes including knowledge, intentions, self-efficacy and actual behaviors and we are collecting at baseline, 6 weeks, 3, 6, 12, and 24 months. We are examining these outcomes in our experimental group compared with a control group playing a set of off-the-shelf games on the iPad. The current findings of the 196 teens who have completed the 6 weeks of gameplay and for whom we have baseline and 3 month data, reveal that, while the two groups had no differences in their baseline HIV risk knowledge, the PlayForward group had statistically significant gains in knowledge at 6 weeks (p<0.0001), sustained at 3 months (p<0.01). In addition, examining the association between exposure to the game and performance on the standardized assessments revealed that the number of game levels completed (a measure of exposure to the intervention) was positively correlated with knowledge gains measured at 3 months (r=0.42; p<0.001). (more…)
Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, PLoS / 23.08.2013 Interview with: Brian D. Glass Biological and Experimental Psychology, School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary, University of London, London, United Kingdom Bradley C. Love Department of Cognitive, Perceptual and Brain Sciences, University College London, London, United Kingdom What are the main findings of the study? Answer: We had 72 non-gaming participants play 40 hours of video games over 6 to 8 weeks. We tested them on psychological tests before and after. The participants either played The Sims (a life simulator game), or one of two versions of StarCraft (a real-time strategy game) -- one which had a higher level of complexity. We found that the StarCraft players (especially on the higher complexity version) performed better on specifically the psychological tasks which tested cognitive flexibility. Cognitive flexibility is the ability to adapt to a changing environment by keeping multiple things in mind and switch between tasks effectively. This sort of ability is considered a higher level psychological ability because it requires strategic thinking and creativity. (more…)