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Article Critique – Real and Virtual Worlds Alike

Article Critique – Real and Virtual Worlds Alike

The study by Segev et al. (2017) investigates the connection between psychopathological conditions in adolescents and their behavior in open-world video games. The study’s primary aim is to determine whether adolescents with internalizing and externalizing psychopathological disorders exhibit distinct virtual behaviors during gameplay compared to typically developing adolescents. With an increasing number of adolescents participating in virtual gaming environments, it is essential to understand the potential impact of such experiences on their psychological well-being (Montag et al., 2019).

The study involved 47 adolescents categorized into three groups: controls, internalizing cluster disorders, and externalizing cluster disorders. The participants engaged in gameplay sessions of GTA and NFS, and their in-game behaviors were closely observed and analyzed (Segev et al., 2017). The researchers focused on different in-game factors such as progression, activity, and wandering. One key finding of the study relates to the “Progression Factor.” Adolescents with internalizing and externalizing disorders exhibited significantly different behaviors compared to the control group, particularly in the game GTA. The control group displayed more goal-directed actions, such as attempting missions and evading the virtual police, while the psychopathological groups engaged in fewer of these actions. The control group also “died” less frequently than the other groups. These findings align with previous research by Wei et al. (2022), which demonstrated that video games can influence aggressive thoughts and behaviors.

The “Activity Factor” did not yield significant differences between the groups in GTA, indicating that all groups displayed similar levels of general in-game activity. However, the “Wandering Factor” revealed interesting variations. In GTA, the externalizing group demonstrated more aimless and destructive behaviors, including stealing cars and running down virtual civilians. This behavior significantly differed from the control group, while the internalizing group showed a borderline significant difference. Contrastingly, in the game NFS, no significant differences were found between the groups for aggression or other parameters.

The study’s implications emphasize that adolescents with psychopathological conditions exhibit different virtual behaviors in open-world video games compared to typically developing adolescents. These differences in gameplay behaviors may be indicative of core characteristics of the diagnostic groups, such as impulsivity, risk-taking, and aggression. Nevertheless, the study has its limitations. The sample size was relatively small, and the research was conducted in a controlled laboratory setting, which may not fully represent the natural gaming environments where adolescents typically play. Additionally, the study focused on specific video games, and its findings may not be universally applicable to all open-world games. Lastly, it excluded female participants; thus, it does not give a crystal-clear picture.


Montag, C., Schivinski, B., Sariyska, R., Kannen, C., Demetrovics, Z., & Pontes, H. M. (2019). Psychopathological symptoms and gaming motives in disordered gaming—A psychometric comparison between the WHO and APA diagnostic frameworks. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 8(10), 1691.

Segev, A., Gabay-Weschler, H., Naar, Y., Maoz, H., & Bloch, Y. (2017). Real and virtual worlds alike: Adolescents’ psychopathology is reflected in their videogame virtual behaviors. PLOS ONE, 12(7), e0181209.

Wei, M., Liu, Y., & Chen, S. (2022). Violent video game exposure and problem behaviors among children and adolescents: The mediating role of deviant peer affiliation for gender and grade differences. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(22), 15400.


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Real and Virtual Worlds Alike

Real and Virtual Worlds Alike

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Attach two references dated 2017-present. Please cite references inside the body of the paper.

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