Texas A&M Study Suggests Gaming Can Reduce Stress
It's a good thing we have scientists to tackle these burning questions. Associate professor Dr. Christopher J. Ferguson of Texas A&M International University conducted a study of 103 students and concluded that video games, both violent and non, can help calm people after bouts of frustration -- and at the very least they don't seem to do any harm.
The study, which subjected participants to a series of activities designed to frustrate them, was followed by a gaming session with either Call of Duty 2, Madden 2007, or Hitman: Blood Money. In order to have a baseline frustration level to compare with the game-playing groups, a control group was informed that a technical glitch had prevented their scheduled game session. The results make intuitive sense. The game-playing subjects displayed lower stress and frustration levels at the conclusion of the study.
“It probably won’t come to a surprise to gamers that playing games may reduce stress,” Ferguson said in a press release, “although others have been skeptical of this idea. This is the first study that explores this idea, however. It does seem that playing violent games may help reduce stress and make people less depressed and hostile.”
All snark about the necessity for academic studies to tell us that games reduce stress aside, gamers should be thankful to have allies like Dr. Ferguson. A cursory knowledge of the last two decades worth of headlines illustrates the powerful forces out there who have an interest in making political hay out of the supposed negative effects of our favorite hobby. Having real data to back up the claim that video games aren't turning the next generations into sociopaths (that would be Twilight, thank you very much) is crucial when Congressional hearings and civil lawsuits have the industry in their sights.