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Why do gamers invert their controls? How one question launched a thousand volunteers

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December 08, 2020 at 12:39PM

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More than a million of you read our article calling for volunteers to take part in research into why some gamers invert their controls. The response was incredible

It is fair to say that no one was anticipating this. When the Guardian ran article on the Visual Perception and Attention Lab at Brunel University London and how it planned to investigate why some gamers invert their controls, I expected a modicum of interest among seasoned readers of the Games section. When I placed an appeal at the end of the article asking for volunteers to take part in a series of virtual research experiments, I thought we’d maybe get a few dozen responses. That’s not what happened. At the time of writing this, more than 1,250,000 have read the article.

“The moment the article went live, our phone notifications went crazy,” says Dr Jennifer Corbett who is leading the study with her colleague Dr Jaap Munneke. “In less than a few hours, we had more than 100 participants, and by the end of the day, more than 500. We have more than 1,000 volunteers now and we’re so grateful.” According to Corbett, the lab currently has the resources to test around 100 participants in the first exploratory study, but they are working on ways to support follow-up studies so that every eligible volunteer can be tested. “There are so many questions we can pursue – we just need to find the time and money to keep going!”

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