The study targeted 103 Russian gamers aged between 14 and 25, all of them are active users of the Defence of the Ancients 2 (DotA 2) game.
DotA 2 is immensely popular among young people and has more than 12.5 million users worldwide. Having analyzed tens of thousands of game sessions, the researchers managed to compile a psychological portrait of the modern gamer.
"This controversy should not surprise us, considering the complicated phenomena facing modern researchers," said Olga Rubtsova, the group's leader and Director of the Modern Childhood Inter-Disciplinary Research Center.
She believes that such phenomena as, for example, virtual reality can be studied only through joint efforts by representatives from various research fields. Her group uses the inter-disciplinary approach and comprises psychologists, sociologists, and IT specialists.
In her opinion, children seek refuge in gaming and become the "the most active users of virtual reality" where they hope to "solve age-related problems that they are not allowed to solve in real life."
"Virtual reality attracts young people as a certain platform on which they can experiment with various models of role behavior," the researcher went on. But they are unaware of the trick that awaits them, she added.
"Teenagers, who are raised in single-parent families and have a more prominent role in this state of conflict, are more subject to gaming addiction than others," the expert said, commenting on one of the key research conclusions. The ultimate goal of the research is to create a program that will use gaming behavior as a tool to diagnose the personality characteristics of gamers.
So far, this is the first in a series of planned studies devoted to the behavior of modern young people in a virtual reality. The Modern Childhood Inter-Disciplinary Research Center at the Moscow State University of Psychology and Education is conducting parallel research on the role of social networks in the life of Russian teenagers.