Video games would be more effective than a session with the psychologist

Are Video Games Good For Our Mental Health? Researchers from the prestigious University of Oxford say yes, after conducting a study on players from Animal Crossing New Horizons and Plants vs Zombies: Battle for Neighborville.

study video game
Credit: Unsplash

Video games have always been the source of heated and heated debates. Do video games make people violent? Are Video Games Drugs? Are video games gradually replacing TV and reading? However, video games do not have all bad sides, to the chagrin of their detractors.

Video games, for example, are great therapeutic tools. We remember Endeavor RX, the first video game prescribed for children with attention disorders. Several studies have shown that regular practice of shooting games drastically increases reflexes.

And on Monday, November 16, 2020, we learn that researchers from the prestigious British University of Oxford have decided to look in turn on the effects of video games on our mental health. Let’s not spare the suspense, for Andrew Przybilski, director of this study, video games have unsuspected benefits on our morals.

Animal Crossing, an undeniable source of well-being

To carry out their research, these scientists were interested in the players of Animal Crossing New Horizons, the last Nintendo box released during the first confinement, and of Plants vs Zombies: Battle for Neighborville, a multiplayer action game developed by EA. Thanks to the online modes available in these two games, researchers were able to collect precise data on playing time.

Previous studies on video games have focused on rough data, play times given to the ladle by the players themselves. “With this study, the aim is to prove that games have an interest in psychology research. It was a quest to find out if the data collected by game publishers could be useful for academic research and public health policies.“, Explains Andrew Przybilski.

At the start of the study, the chief researcher was amazed at how little game publishers had statistical data on gamers, and how much previous studies were based on a very low number of hard data. “Our study shows that if you play Animal Crossing for four hours, you are much happier […] I am sure that as we continue our research we will learn new things about the so called “toxic” aspects of video games ”, assures the scientist.

However, the researcher wishes to qualify his results. He specifies that the attitude adopted towards a game may have a positive or negative impact on our mental health. This is the opposition between “intrinsic pleasure” and “extrinsic pleasure”:

  • In the first case, a player plays for fun, because he loves the game and simply wants it.
  • In the second case, the player will play because of a motivation outside of his own will (to earn a living in the case of pro players, or to obtain a reward from a quest or a temporary event, for please a friend, etc.)

Regarding this last category, video games can actually have a negative effect on morale, due to several factors such as too high a difficulty (cuckoo Dark Souls), complex and numerous game mechanics or a community of toxic players. .

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Dark Souls 3 is renowned for its difficulty and requirement / Credits: From Software

Either way, the researchers hope more studies will be done on the subject, with the same attention paid to statistical data. “You have important bodies, like the World Health Organization and the NHS (ndrl: National Health Service), that devote attention and resources to something for which there is absolutely no data. And it’s shocking to me, this risk they’re taking, to turn around and say, Hey, that thing 95% of teens do (ndrl: the video game)? Yes, it’s addictive, and no, we don’t have any data to prove it. It does not mean anything”, denounces Andrew Przybylski.

As a reminder, the WHO has officially recognized the disorder of video games. From January 1, 2022, video game addiction will be included in the International Classification of Diseases.

Source: The Guardian

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