Blog: Serious stress relief from playing video games?
Two new studies find that the engrossing virtual worlds and visual puzzles found in video games significantly lessen individuals' physical pain or mental stress.
We need to get FnJimmy playing Tetris.
Research funded by the National Institutes of Health and presented at the American Pain Society's annual scientific meeting found that playing video games does more than just distract people from physical pain. By engaging other senses, such as sight and touch, game play reduces signals in areas of the brain that are associated with pain. This is particularly true for games that are motion-controlled or feature 3-D worlds, which offer a more fully engaging experience. In a test conducted with burn victims, researchers found that playing video games reduced patients' reported pain ratings by 30 to 50 percent.
Another study conducted by researchers at Oxford University and published in Public Library of Science found that visual puzzles, such as the classic video game Tetris, could reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Following exposure to video clips, participants recorded how often they experienced flashbacks from the film. Those who played Tetris experienced fewer nightmares and painful flashbacks than participants who played a trivia game or did nothing. The study suggests that games challenging a player's visuospatial skills may offer a cognitive treatment against the development of PTSD.
Source: The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) newsletter.
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