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Athabasca University e-Lab

Internet Interviews with Video Games Experts

Jayne Gackenbach received her Ph.D. in psychology in the U.S. at Virginia Commonwealth University in 1978. She is currently a professor at Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and a tutor in Communication Studies at Athabasca University. For the first 20 years of her career she focused on research into dreams, and especially lucid dreams, with several books and many articles and book chapters. Her books include:

Conscious mind, sleeping brain: Perspectives on lucid dreaming (1988)
Control your dreams (1989; ebook release 2012)

She is one of the past presidents of the International Association for the Study of Dreams. The highlight of her professional dream career was when she presented her research into lucid dreaming to the Tibetan Dalai Lama at a meeting on Sleep, Dreaming and Dying in India in 1992. The proceedings appeared in Sleeping, Dreaming and Dying: An Exploration of Consciousness with the Dalai Lama. In 2010 she was prominently featured in a documentary on dreams which accompanies the blueray DVD release of the movie Inception.

It seemed an odd shift to begin work on new media including the internet and video games in the last third of her career. But when she bought her son a Nintendo in the mid-1990’s she became aware of its pull. Thus began over a decade of research, publication and media interviews on video game play.

She has several books on these topics including:

Psychology and the Internet: Intrapersonal, Interpersonal, and Transpersonal Implication (2nd edition, 2007)
cyber.rules (2007)
Play Reality: How Video Games are Changing Everything (2012)
Video Game Play and Consciousness (2012)

She has focused upon the impact of gaming on various states of consciousness including dreams, flow, and absorption. She has 20 refereed journal publications and seven book chapters on video game play as well as 40+ papers presented at professional conferences. Jayne tutors four Communication Studies courses at Athabasca University and co-teaches a course at Grant MacEwan University on video games.

Since 2010 her work on video game play was featured in over 100 media outlets and has included magazines, newspapers, and news agencies such as The Wall Street Journal, New Scientist Magazine, Bottom Line Women’s Health, LiveScience, XBox Magazine, Toronto Star, Ottawa Citizen, Vancouver Sun as well as both Edmonton papers. Online news agencies such as MSNBC, Yahoo news and Canwest covered this research. There was also international coverage with interviews from journalists in England, Australia, Brazil and the Netherlands.