In this day and age I’m sure we’ve all heard some news report saying that video games do nothing but warp the players into overly aggressive shut-ins. Below I would like to cite several studies that show that gaming in fact can benefit the player over time. One study concluded that exposure to violent video games reduced hostile feelings and depression following stress. Another study has explored the use of video games as an educational tool for students with learning disabilities. Below I will be delving into these studies and providing references to my sources.
Associate Professor Christopher Ferguson at the Texas A&M International University, along with his colleague Stephanie Rueda, conducted a study in July of 2010 that examined how a person that plays videogames handle pre-existing stress. Entitled “The Hitman Study: Violent Video Games Exposure Effects on Aggressive Behavior, Hostile feeling and Depression”, the study utilized 103 college students who would have frustration induced via Paced Auditory Serial Addition Task then split into four groups. One group would play Hitman: Blood Money, another Call of Duty 2, a third Madden 2007, and a fourth were told that a technical issue prevented them from playing. Madden was included for a non-violent game that still included “action” for the players. Their conclusion was that a short term exposure to violent video games raised or lowered aggression, but in the long term there was actually a reduction in hostile feelings as well as depression that would follow from a stressful task; the subjects not less aggressive but they were less hostile and depressed.
Dr. Mark Griffiths is a professor in the psychology division at Nottingham Trent University. He wrote an article in 2002 citing multiple studies dating back to the 1980s on the potential for video games to be used as an educational tool. As a research tool, video games can excel because they offer a wide variety of topics as well as being able to appeal to a broader demographic regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, and education. Video games also have shown to be effective in teaching to students who have mental retardation or autism. A specific example comes from a mother whose autistic child was able to excel at playing video games, which provided an ego boost while also providing a calming effect. In effect it also helped to improve language, basic math, basic reading, and social skills.
In the same article examples are cited where video games were used to treat adolescents with poor impulse control and attention deficit disorders. Specifically, a trial was held with 22 boys and girls with attention deficit disorders where half were treated with traditional biofeedback training and the other was treated with modified video games using the Sony PlayStation console system. While both groups showed improvement the groups using the modified video games were shown to have less drop-outs and no-shows in the treatment. It was also stressed that this sort of therapy was to be used in conjunction with traditional drug therapies. Studies were also conducted using education video games about various chronic conditions; these games provided entertainment as well as reinforcing self-care techniques for the player’s conditions.
http://sheu.org.uk/sites/sheu.org.uk/files/imagepicker/1/eh203mg.pdf (Contains multiple cited sources as well.)