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Understanding Video Game Play and Mental Health

Understanding Video Game Play and Mental Health

Full project title: Understanding Video Game Play and Mental Health


Video games are extremely popular, but how they affect players is not yet scientifically understood. Health and welfare stakeholders and the global games industry urgently require a comprehensive understanding of games to regulate gameplay, advise parents and players, and
develop games responsibly.

Our team uses multiple strategies to capture data directly from games and platforms and thereby understand both the quantity (how much time people spend playing games) and the quality (what games people play, and what they do in-game) of gameplay. One such strategy involves collaborating with major players in the games industry including Nintendo and Microsoft to facilitate sharing of objective, industry-captured data on player behaviour. We link this gameplay data with mental health surveys to understand how players are feeling before, during, and after play, over months or years. Together, we seek to improve how social scientists study the influence of video games on mental health. Our work has three primary goals:

  1. Provide tools and infrastructure for social scientists to obtain previously inaccessible
    objective data on the quantity and quality of gameplay.
  2. Leverage best practices in transparent and open research to generate robust findings that
    explain for whom and under what circumstances games affect well-being.
  3. Generate large-scale, freely available datasets on the longitudinal relationship between
    video game play and mental health, using representative samples of players

Key Information

Project dates:
March 2023 - March 2025


All Publications

Johannes, N., Vuorre, M., Magnusson, K., & Przybylski, A. K. (2022). Time Spent Playing Two Online Shooters Has No Measurable Effect on Aggressive Affect. Collabra: Psychology, 8(1), 34606. Access here

Vuorre, M., Zendle, D., Petrovskaya, E., Ballou, N., & Przybylski, A. K. (2021). A large-scale study of changes to the quantity, quality, and distribution of video game play during a global health pandemic. Technology, Mind, and Behavior, 2(4). Access here

Vuorre, M., Johannes, N., Magnusson, K., & Przybylski, A. K. (2022). Time spent playing video games is unlikely to impact well-being. Royal Society Open Science, 9(7), 220411. Access here.

Johannes, N., Vuorre, M., & Przybylski, A. K. (2021). Video game play is positively correlated with well-being. Royal Society Open Science, 8(2), rsos.202049, 202049. Access here.


Fair Play Summit: Implementing a Mental Health and Wellbeing Research Study in Games

Video games habits findings


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