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Videogames affecting Psychology Positively or Negatively

Piyush Kumar ShrivastavaJul 18 . 5 min read

Behaving, thinking, and responding in a certain way is a reflection of a person’s psychology. It usually remains the same but, changes when the person gets addicted to something. One of those addictions observed in today’s generation is video games. So, from there, the question of Videogames affecting Psychology Positively or Negatively arises.

People with different psychologies prefer different types of games to play. Different types of game addiction have different types of effects. The effects have been observed by researchers and concluded specifically for each type of game addiction. Also, these studies are very much helpful in tracking which points to put limit/control on and which to use more in building good and strong psychology.

1. Violent Games

 

Mortal Combat, Wolfenstein 3D, Doom are some of the very popular games full of violence. These games, according to a study published in the American Psychological Association’s(APA)  Social Psychology and Personality Journal, can increase a person’s behavior, thoughts, and feelings in laboratory settings as well as in real life. 

According to Dr. Anderson of lowa State University, “Violent video games provide a forum for learning and practicing aggressive solutions to conflict situations,”. Aggressive thoughts are primed due to playing violent video games. He also tells that this medium is of more potential danger than violent movies and television. The story can be read in detail on https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2000/04/video-games

As per a study available on https://www.dana.org/article/video-games-affect-the-brain-for-better-and-worse/ , some players went through functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) scans in the brain while playing video games. The effects were observed on the rostral Anterior Cingulate Cortex ( rACC) and amygdala as these brain areas are associated with resolving emotional conflict.

         

The effects were compared between gamer’s high violence games and low violence games.

The decreased functioning of these areas for players playing high violence games could indicate a suppression of sensitivity towards aggression and hence provoking their gamers to take violent actions. 

2. Puzzle type Games

This type of game is very good for the human brain and psychology. Scientists from Nanyang Technological University made some undergraduates play a physics-based puzzle game called Cut the Rope. The results were showing that the students had better executive functions.

Through the game, they were testing abilities as to how fast the players can switch tasks which indicate mental flexibility; how soon the players can adapt to a new situation instead of relying on the same previous strategy which shows the ability to inhibit predominant responses and up to what extent they are able to focus on the information at the same time blocking out distractions which are also known as Flanker's task in the Cognitive Psychology.

3. Racing Games


In some studies about the racing game effects on human behavior, the effects have been found evident related to reckless driving. The games which reward on doing reckless driving or traffic violations affected the active player for taking more risks while driving. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19596767/  tells about the complete study.

4. Games with Inappropriate character portrayal

Studies have also shown that games with characters having inappropriate physical descriptions and dressing are also affecting player’s psychology about the sensitivity towards a particular gender type

Generally, in the games like Tomb Raider female characters are shown with less clothing and more skin and physical description as such that the female characters consider becoming sensuous as a necessary skill. They are also recessive to dominant characters or always needing some help to get out of risk like Prince of Persia, Super Maria.

These games build psychology in young male players of the female being always in a need of help to achieve anything and their clothing style as to attract them. In some cases, they have also been found to be less sensitive about female’s suffering and pain. These are negative impacts on psychology.

Self Narrated Instances

Raffael Boccomazzo from Seattle went ahead and finally became a clinical psychology doctor. At the age of 35, he was diagnosed with Autism. He says “In a way learning from video games ended up giving me social scripts that I could carry forward in my day to day life”. In his teens, he started going for role-playing games and found that extrovert characters from games in his real life also.

In the year 2019, Boccomazzo played a very important role in creating Dungeons & Dragons and Gardens of Fog which aim to show how depression and anxiety can affect people.

Tara Voelker is an Xbox’s accessibility program manager has also confessed openly about her struggles during post-traumatic stress disorders. She says “We all have mental health struggles. The more examples we can have out there, the more normal it becomes. The more we can help normalize mental health struggles, the more comfortable people will be talking about then and seeking care”.

Both the stories taken from https://news.microsoft.com/features/mind-games-how-gaming-can-play-a-positive-role-in-mental-health/  and some more can be read there in detail.

Instances like this and many more are coming up telling about the effects in psychology development from the video-game type being played.

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