People heavily involved in gaming said to be nearer to autistic spectrum disorders than people who have no interest in gaming.
According to a study by Dr John Charlton of the University of Bolton and Ian Danforth of Whitman College, USA, people who are addicted to playing video games show some of the same personality traits as people with Aspergers syndrome, a variety of high functioning autism.
391 "computer game players", 86% of whom were male, were questioned in the hope of discovering a relationship between addiction, high engagement and personality.
Results found that the closer the players got to addiction the more likely they were to display negative personality traits. With stronger signs of game addiction came three personality traits that would usually be associated with Aspergers: neuroticism, and lack of extraversion and agreeableness.
The researchers believe that video game addicts can not be classified as having Aspergers syndrome, but do share characteristics because they find it easier to empathise with computer systems than other people.
"The thinking in the field is that there is a scale along which people, even those considered to be 'normal', can be placed upon," said Dr Charlton. "And that people such as engineers, mathematicians and computer scientists are nearer to the non-empathising, systemising, end of the spectrum, with people with Aspergers syndrome even further along again.
"Our research supports the idea that people who are heavily involved in game playing may be nearer to autistic spectrum disorders than people who have no interest in gaming."