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Liking games is like having Aspergers

So say men in white coats.

A scientific study has found that people who play loads of games show some of the same personality traits as people with Aspergers syndrome.

The study was conducted by Dr John Charlton from the University of Bolty and Ian Danforth of Whitman College, USA. They questioned 391 gamers, 86 per cent of whom were male, looking at the relationships between addiction, 'high engagement' and personality.

According to the press release detailing the results of the study, "They found that the closer the players got to addiction the more likely they were to display negative personality traits.

"And that as players showed more signs of addiction they were increasingly characterised by three personality traits that would normally be associated with Aspergers, a variety of high functioning autism." Specifically, the traits are neuroticism and lack of extraversion and agreeableness.

It's not that these people can be said to have Aspergers syndrome - it's that they share some characteristics "because they find it easier to empathise with computer systems than people".

According to Dr Charlton, "The thinking in the field is that there is a scale along which people, even those considered to be 'normal', can be placed upon. And that people such as engineers, mathematicians and computer scientists are nearer to the non-empathising, systemising, end of the spectrum, with people with Aspergers syndrome even further along again.

"Our research supports the idea that people who are heavily involved in game playing may be nearer to autistic spectrum disorders than people who have no interest in gaming."