The games you play have a close correlation to many aspects of your life!

There is an old expression that says, Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are.’ Extrapolating this to other aspects of our life can prove especially useful. For example, the activities that we partake in say a lot about our interests, abilities, and personality. Various high-level studies have been conducted over the years vis-à-vis gameplay, grade point average (GPA), personality and genre of preference. In one such study, the control group was asked several questions, including the following:

  • The total amount of time that each of the university students in the group spent playing their favourite video games.
  • The total number of games played during a calendar year.
  • The average amount of time per week that habitual players played their favourite video games.

For the most part, these appear to be rather innocuous questions, but they are telling. The core issues that were examined were conscientiousness, diversity, habitual playing styles, selective playing styles and the like. For example, students who spent between 11 and 50 hours playing had substantially higher grade point averages than students who spent less than 10 hours playing. Likewise, students who were more receptive to trying different types of games had a more open style personality than those who were close-minded and played less than 3 games per year. This indicates a close correlation between personality and gaming behaviour. Perhaps the most important finding was the correlation between grade point average and genre of video game.

How Closely Linked Are Our Gaming Preferences to Our Academic Performance?

Each person prefers a specific type of food, leisure activity, vacation hotspot or TV show. In much the same way, we all have specific videogames preferences. These types of games appeal to the very essence of our personalities, sometimes acting as an extension of what we would like, if reality permitted. For example, the wild at heart may be drawn to adventure-laden games in an Amazonian jungle. Players with a penchant for martial arts would be drawn to the highflying antics and big hitting appeal of games like Streetfighter and Mortal Kombat. The deep thinkers among us may eschew such games and gravitate towards games of chess, battleships, poker and blackjack.

In terms of personality-related issues, conscientiousness and openness have a close correlation with video gaming activity. Additionally, these personality traits are closely associated with our academic performance. If a person is conscientious, he or she can exhibit self-control, is reliable and responsible. These types of folks prefer planned activity as opposed to spur of the moment behaviour. Conscientious students generally tend to limit their video games activity because they prefer to focus on other important things like their studies, their careers or their personal relationships. On the flip side, challenging online games require players to have a specific personality style that is persistent, dogged and determined.

Interesting Insights between Video Games and Personality and Performance

People who are generally receptive to new ideas and ways of doing things tend to play a diverse range of video games. Motivated students are typically open to exploration. They will play many more different types of video games than conscientious students who prefer to dabble in a select few activities. However, a caveat is in order: video games with a strategic element will attract players from across the board. People are inherently drawn to solving challenging issues, and strategic video games present many such opportunities. It comes as no surprise that students who spend significant amounts of time playing video games fare poorly academically. With time being the most important determinant of academic performance (the more you study the better you perform), it makes sense that players who invest all their time in video games detract from their overall academic performance.