I'm Professor Andy Przybylski (shuh-bill-ski) a social science researcher at the University of Oxford. My work is mainly concerned with applying psychological models of motivation and health to study how people interact with virtual environments including video games and social media. I'm particularly interested in integrating open, robust, and reproducible science with evidence-based policymaking in the digital age.
There Is No Evidence That Associations Between Adolescents’ Digital Technology Engagement and Mental Health Problems Have Increased
Vuorre, M., Orben, A. and Przybylski, A. K.
Digital technology is ubiquitous in modern adolescence, and researchers are concerned that it has negative impacts on mental health that, furthermore, increase over time. To investigate whether technology is becoming more harmful, we examined changes in associations between technology engagement and mental health in three nationally representative samples. Results were mixed across types of technology and mental health outcomes: Technology engagement had become less strongly associated with depression in the past decade, but social-media use had become more strongly associated with emotional problems. We detected no changes in five other associations or differential associations by sex. There is therefore little evidence for increases in the associations between adolescents’ technology engagement and mental health. Information about new digital media has been collected for a relatively short time; drawing firm conclusions about changes in their associations with mental health may be premature. We urge transparent and credible collaborations between scientists and technology companies.
VIDEO GAME PLAY IS POSITIVELY CORRELATED WITH WELL-BEING
N Johannes, M Vuorre & AK Przybylski
People have never played more video games, and many stakeholders are worried that this activity might be bad for players. So far, research has not had adequate data to test whether these worries are justified and if policymakers should act to regulate video game play time. We attempt to provide much-needed evidence with adequate data. Whereas previous research had to rely on self-reported play behaviour, we collaborated with two games companies, Electronic Arts and Nintendo of America, to obtain players' actual play behaviour. We surveyed players of Plantsvs.Zombies: Battle for Neighborville and Animal Crossing: New Horizons for their well-being, motivations and need satisfaction during play, and merged their responses with telemetry data (i.e. logged game play). Contrary to many fears that excessive play time will lead to addiction and poor mental health, we found a small positive relation between game play and affective well-being. Need satisfaction and motivations during play did not interact with play time but were instead independently related to well-being. Our results advance the field in two important ways. First, we show that collaborations with industry partners can be done to high academic standards in an ethical and transparent fashion. Second, we deliver much-needed evidence to policymakers on the link between play and mental health.
USE CAUTION WHEN APPLYING BEHVIOURAL SCIENCE TO POLICY
H IJzerman NA Lewis JR & AK Przybylski et al.
Social and behavioural scientists have attempted to speak to the COVID-19 crisis. But is behavioural research on COVID-19 suitable for making policy decisions? We offer a taxonomy that lets our science advance in ‘evidence readiness levels’ to be suitable for policy. We caution practitioners to take extreme care translating our findings to applications.