Impulsivity and related neuropsychological features in regular and addictive first person shooter gaming (2014)

Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2014 Mar;17(3):147-52. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2013.0024. Epub 2013 Aug 24.

Metcalf O1, Pammer K.

  • 1Research School of Psychology, The Australian National University , Canberra, Australia .


Putative cyber addictions are of significant interest. There remains little experimental research into excessive use of first person shooter (FPS) games, despite their global popularity. Moreover, the role between excessive gaming and impulsivity remains unclear, with previous research showing conflicting findings. The current study investigated performances on a number of neuropsychological tasks (go/no-go, continuous performance task, Iowa gambling task) and a trait measure of impulsivity for a group of regular FPS gamers (n=25), addicted FPS gamers (n=22), and controls (n=22). Gamers were classified using the Addiction-Engagement Questionnaire. Addicted FPS gamers had significantly higher levels of trait impulsivity on the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale compared to controls. Addicted FPS gamers also had significantly higher levels of disinhibition in a go/no-go task and inattention in a continuous performance task compared to controls, whereas the regular FPS gamers had better decision making on the Iowa gambling task compared to controls. The results indicate impulsivity is associated with FPS gaming addiction, comparable to pathological gambling. The relationship between impulsivity and excessive gaming may be unique to the FPS genre. Furthermore, regular FPS gaming may improve decision making ability.