Study shows that virtual worlds can influence real-world decisions


A group of scientists at Cambridge University has conducted a study that shows that associations in videogames transfer directly to the real world. A group of volunteers played a (rather basic, from the look of it) cycling game, where they would be given a slurp of fruit juice if a cyclist from their team passed them, but a slurp of salty tea if a rival cyclist passed them.

A few days later, the participants were invited back and given the choice of two chairs in the waiting room, one with the logo of their team, and one with the logo of the rival team. Three quarters of participants picked the chair with their team’s logo, despite most people claiming not to notice the design.

Gaming Addiction Centre Chief: "Compulsive Gaming Is Not Addiction"


Keith Bakker is the founder of one of the most popular gaming addiction rehab centres in the world – the Smith & Jones Centre in Holland. They were the first facility in the world to admit patients for addiction to games, and they’ve been in the headlines lately following a few cases of people playing a little too much of the new WoW expansion.

Last year, Keith said “I believe gaming is currently the greatest threat to our society”, which is a hell of a statement. However, he’s recently made somewhat of a U-turn in his opinions. He now says that 90% of the kids he sees are actually addicts – they just need better social care, which is exactly what I said the other day.

Microsoft studies 30bn instant messages and "proves" six degrees of separation theory


The theory that every human being is separated from anyone else by a maximum of six steps may have gained some ground thanks to a study of some thirty billion instant messages by Microsoft’s researchers.

Studying the addresses of messages sent during June 2006 (yes, two years ago — what, were they reading them as well?), the researchers found that any two people were linked by seven or fewer acquaintances — 6.6 steps to be precise, with over three-quarters of the pairs linkable in seven or fewer steps…