A study published by the University of Oxford has shown that video games during confinements increase mental well-being due to a variety of factors, and that time spent playing is not the most critical factor.
The combination of more national closures in Europe and North America and the holiday season likely has video game developers, whose industry did not suffer much during the economic downturns of the COVID-19 pandemic, expecting a surge in sales.
However, as prepress studio by scientists at the University of Oxford, it may not be bad to get a copy of Animal crossing or Plants versus Zombies on your average this year.
This is because, as Professor Andrew Przybylski, research director at the Oxford Internet Institute, discovered, the long-term use of poor scientific methods to measure the effects of games on people’s mental well-being has potentially obscured the benefits, especially the social, especially in confinement, that complex and engaging video games can provide.
“Recent evidence suggests that self-reports of digital behaviors are notoriously inaccurate and biased, limiting the conclusions we can draw from research on video game time and well-being,” explains Przybylski in his yet-to-be article. Has published.
Video games can provide a positive or calming stimulation to the mind, as things like interacting with well-designed characters, dialogue or stories can be even more engaging than the same three aspects in other things like movies, since in a video game you can represent the history.
One study also found that there may be physiological changes that games like Tetris can put you in—Flow states that reduce anxiety and can help prepare for stressful situations.
Przybylski’s study used self-assessment, but only to measure mental well-being and not, critically, playtime.
“By working with Electronic Arts and Nintendo of America, we have been able to combine academic and industry expertise,” Przybylski told Oxford University Press. “By accessing data on people’s playing time, for the first time we have been able to investigate the relationship between actual gaming behavior and subjective well-being, allowing us to provide a template for high-quality evidence to support health. Political leaders. “
A surprising find
3,274 players of “Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville” and “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” completed self-report surveys on mental well-being that produced astonishing data.
Only 25 Plants vs Zombies players who reported between 1 and 6 of positive mental well-being (instead of 0 to -6) had close to or more than 40 hours of total game time on the account over two weeks. The vast majority had between 0 and 20 hours.
Perhaps a more dramatic finding was among players who reported negatively on mental well-being. There were only three that logged more than 20 hours, which really gave a blow to the idea that addictive video games are bad for mental health, as those who weren’t experiencing some sort of joy didn’t play much at all, on others words if they felt bad, they stopped.
Animal Crossing told the same story, with the majority of players playing between 0-20 hours, and the majority reporting positive mental well-being. Animal Crossing is a bit more complex, so unsurprisingly more hours were logged, as well as a lot more players overall.
Still, there were only 20 players reporting negative mental well-being who had logged 40 hours or more on Animal Crossing.
The study measured feelings of autonomy, affinity, competence, enjoyment, and feeling pressured to play, as well as other questions that measured enjoyment of social interactions online.
“Our findings show that video games are not necessarily bad for your health; there are other psychological factors that have a significant effect on a person’s well-being, ”writes Przybylski. “In fact, playing can be an activity that is positively related to people’s mental health, and the regulation of video games could deprive players of those benefits.”
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