This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Measuring the Abuse Liability of Video Games




Bassett, Drew

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation




Video game playing has become increasingly popular since their creation in the 1970s and has received recent attention due to sharing many similarities with other addictive behaviors. Behavioral pharmacological models are commonly used in understanding drug use behaviors and may similarly inform conceptual models of video game playing. Specifically, dose-effect studies are often used to understand the abuse liability (i.e., addiction potential) of novel drugs. The current study utilized this dose-effect methodology for studying video games. Participants (N = 81) played three video games for 10 minutes (i.e., Forza Motorsport 7, Forza Motorsport 1, and OutDrive) and completed Visual Analog Scales after playing the games for one minute, five minutes, and 10 minutes. They then completed a Multiple-Choice Procedure form after 10 minutes in order to measure the abuse liability of the games. Additionally, participants completed the Video Game Dependency Scale to assess problems associated with disordered video game playing. Results from the study indicate that there were abuse liability differences between games, though relations between external behaviors (i.e., weekly participant play time and Internet Gaming Disorder scores) and in-laboratory behaviors (i.e. abuse liability scores) remain unclear. Like other behavioral addiction studies, these results support the notion that methodologies and measures commonly used in drug administration literature can be used to effectively assess variables relevant to behavioral addictions. Recommendations for future studies and implications are provided.