Video games are a massive part of American culture, but along with that contribution has come a fair amount of stigma about how they impact people’s cognitive abilities. The generally accepted understanding from those who aren’t active gamers is that they “rot your brain,” especially when you play for prolonged stretches of time.
In reality, research has started to show that video games can have positive effects on the brain outside of reliance or serious attachment to them from a psychological perspective. In fact, many people have also seen an improvement in anxiety, stress, and relaxation as a result of playing video games. In a new study, OnlineRoulette.org surveyed 1,000 gamers to see how video games, and different genres of games, impacted their mental health.
Overall, 42% of respondents said they used video games as a sort of escape from everyday life, but they also felt that games had a positive impact on their stress level and relaxation. In particular, 65.8% said that gaming relaxes them, while 21.3% said it has no effect on how relaxed they are, and just 12.9% said it makes them less relaxed. Results were similar with stress levels—50.2% said gaming decreases their level of stress, 25.1% said it has no effect, and 24.7% said it increases how stressed they are.
Breaking it down by genre and content, things get pretty interesting. Of course, the topic of violent video games and the influence they have (or don’t have) on people is one that has been discussed for as long as video games have been popular. How do nonviolent/peaceful games impact brain activity and things like anxiety? According to the study, 75% of gamers said that nonviolent video games are helpful for relaxation, and 49% said nonviolent games decrease their anxiety. 89% of respondents said that Animal Crossing was their preferred nonviolent/peaceful game.
Sports games are also immensely popular among gamers at large, and there are of course plenty of cognitive benefits that come along with engaging in these often complicated games. Some of the biggest benefits of sports games, according to respondents, include competitiveness (81.2%), strategic thinking (74.1%), and happiness (74.1%). 67.9% said that sports games increased confidence, and 61.2% said it helped to improve their relaxation.
Overall, while these benefits are important and noteworthy, interestingly enough 22% said that sports games actually increased their stress levels. That’s a pretty decent percentage for sports games, which take so much focus that you might assume stress wouldn’t be as impacted.
The same certainly can’t be said for survival games, though. The study noted that one in four respondents felt survival games such as Call of Duty increased their stress levels. However, 50% said games like CoD actually relax them—though that relaxation is felt after they’ve finished playing. Generally, with survival games that use fear as a component, many enjoy that feeling. A study from Indiana University actually noted that 44.1% of the 269 gamers surveyed enjoyed the feeling of being scared while playing video games.
With violent video games, the study showed that respondents also find some benefits in playing these often maligned and hotly-debated games. 80.4% said they help with strategic thinking, 75.7% said they make them happier, 70.2% said they increase their competitiveness, 63.9% said violent games relax them, and 57.3% said they increase their confidence.
Ultimately, video games can be a great source of enjoyment and relaxation for many people regardless of genre or intensity. The benefits, generally, seem to vary greatly depending on the type of game it is, and it’s safe to say that it also varies depending on the person playing them. The survey certainly shed some light on the debate over whether gaming is a healthy practice, and hopefully, research will continue to show that it’s a valid medium that when played in reasonable moderation can really bring people some much-needed relaxation and fun.
Reasons Why Videos Games Have a Positive Impact on Your Brain
People have been debating on this topic for years. Most of them believe that video games are responsible for various mental issues but there it has not been proven scientifically. But here we come with several reasons that can help you understand that it actually does have a positive impact on your brain. Let us check these out one by one.
One of the biggest advantages of playing video games is that it helps in improving concentration and memory. If you have been fighting for your life in fortnite, then you must be aware of all necessary spots from where you get the right resources to save your life. Such an environment helps in building focus and remembering things for a longer duration.
Enhances your learning abilities
Many parents believe that video games make their children’s minds dull, which is why they do not get good marks in their academics. But this is not true. Researchers from the UK conducted a study which shows that it can actually help boost their brain flexibility. They said that the games require children to think critically, which automatically helps in increasing their ability to learn things well.
Improves decision-making ability:
Whether it comes to personal life or professional life, decision-making plays an important role. Sometimes, various situations arrive in which we have to make some quick and best decisions. While you play a game and suddenly some rival comes in front of you, you quickly have to process your brain and make necessary steps to save yourself from danger. It indeed helps you in real-time decision making as well.
Great way to relax your mind:
It is believed that many people play video games just to relax their mind after a hectic work routine. Various studies have been conducted that has shown that even simple games such as angry birds can help in lightening up a person’s mood and cheering him up. Whenever a person plays video games, he completely gets lost in it and forgets about all the worries or stress he has got in his life. Therefore, if you are also dealing with a lot of stress lately, then try this fun method.
Problem solving skills:
Playing video games involves facing and putting a lot of effort in winning the challenges. To win those challenges, complicated problem solving skills are needed. That is why it is said that the virtual problem solving skills also help in dealing with the real life hurdles. The more you will make the use of building gaming strategies to win, the more it will help you in enhancing your problem solving abilities.
Helps in treating depression:
Some years back, a study conducted in New Zealand found that video games can be even helpful in treating mental health issues like depression. This research was conducted keeping SPARX games in mind. It is a game which is known to provide therapy to the teenages who are dealing with mental disorders. This game helped them in becoming active and enjoy their counselling session as much as they can.