The International Gaming Research Unit (IGRU)
The IGRU has a primary research focus on the psychosocial factors related to various forms of gambling, gaming and cyberpsychology. Our specific areas of interest relate to:
- discovering and understanding attitudes toward gambling, game playing, internet usage and other interactive technologies
- examining the ways individuals interact online – both healthy and unhealthy interactions
- examining the ways couples use the Internet in their everyday lives
- investigating criminal behaviours online and examining the types of individuals who are more likely to become victims to cyber-crimes
- examining the situational and psycho-structural characteristics of gaming (for example, what makes games enjoyable to play?)
- examining how new technologies and products impact on our lives and change the way we live
- promoting healthy attitudes and behaviour patterns in relation to these activities
- identifying those people who are most at risk of developing behavioural problems with these activities
- examining normal social gambling and contrasting this with problem gambling
- designing prevention strategies to minimise the risk of such vulnerable people developing problems
- identifying the underlying factors that contribute to some people developing psychological and behavioural dependencies in relation to some of these activities or technologies.
The kind of work we do falls into three distinct areas (staff training, evaluation, and research).
Our main areas in training concern social responsibility and problem gambling. This involves short workshops designed to educate staff members about the psychology of gambling and to understand the following issues.
- What motivates people to gamble?
- How do you promote responsible gambling?
- Why do some people develop problems with their gambling behaviour?
- How do you identify someone with gambling problems?
- Who is most at risk of developing problems?
- How do you address the issue of customers who gamble too much?
- How do you offer the best advice and support for problem gamblers?
Our main focus here is on the design and evaluation of gambling education programmes. This may be particularly helpful in educational settings such as schools or for wider public awareness campaigns.
This is our primary area of interest and we can undertake research that either examines a particular topic using a variety of methods, or that focuses on one particular methodology. Our methodological strengths are:
- surveys, interviews and focus groups (including attitude research)
- q-methodology (structured card sorting to examine attitudes and beliefs
- protocol analysis (for example, the thinking aloud method)
- content analysis
- experimental research (laboratory and field experiments)
- analysis of game structures, gambling environments, promotional and educational materials etc.
Our research and consultancy is often conducted in conjunction with the gaming industry and from academic research grants. We can offer our research services to investigate any of the above areas above. For more information, please email Professor Mark Griffiths (Director) or telephone him on +44 (0)115 848 5528.