Ever wondered what would happen if university academics worked with actual gameplay data? Well, you no longer have to wager on the answer because a recent study at Oxford University gave this research a chance. The results of this breakthrough collaboration suggest that video gaming might actually be good for your mental well-being.
Battling the Myth: Video Gaming vs. Mental Health
The study focused on players on EA’s shooter Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville as well as Nintendo’s springtime Animal Crossing. Using real play-time data, this first-of-its-kind study found that those who played more video games reported better well-being. These results cast further doubt on the classic myth and past reports that gaming has a negative impact on mental health.
A Vastly Unexplored Field
The lead researcher in the study, Andrew Przybylski, says that their findings aren’t a carte blanche pass for games, in general, and that they are yet to explore different games, game modes, and other factors that can prove the expected negative influences gaming has on people. Just because they found the positives, it doesn’t mean there aren’t negatives.
What’s really important in their research is that the team makes a distinction between the attitude a player has toward a game – whether they have “intrinsic enjoyment” (meaning they play because it’s fun) or because of “extrinsic” reasons (more concerning behaviors, such as the mechanics of the game or being bullied into playing). The researchers hope to continue their study and manage to introduce a sufficient body of empirical evidence about gaming addiction and mental health as a whole.
Przybylski said that he finds it shocking that even though 95% of teenagers play video games these days, and everyone sees how addictive gaming can get, there is still very little data about that phenomenon. He hopes their study will shed more light on the matter.