Tuesday, March 1, 2011 3:02PM - By Justin Massoud
When author and psychiatrist Carole Lieberman told Fox News that playing out sexual situations in video games could lead to an increase in violent sexual acts such as rape carried out in the real world, gamers understandably freaked.
Like an overprotective parent guarding their doe-eyed offspring (even if he or she does have a slingshot tucked away in their back pocket), the reaction to Lieberman’s claim that playing a hyper-violent game like “Bulletstorm”- the focus of the original article – might encourage players to rape was intense. And not in an “I’m writing a strongly-worded letter to her!” way. No – some people decided bombing her books’ Amazon.com listings with unflattering fake reviews would teach her a lesson: don’t mess with video games, lady!
Instead, it reinforces one of the worst gamer stereotypes: that we’re knee-jerk reactionaries who lack the intelligence (or grace) to argue reasonably and instead get personal.
Monday, December 20, 2010 12:58PM - By Jared Newman
If you play first-person shooters and other action video games, you’ll probably nod your head a lot while reading about this recent University of Rochester research: Daphne Bavelier, a professor of brain and cognitive sciences, conducted more than 20 studies on young people and gaming, and concluded that “action video games are far from mindless.”
Friday, July 30, 2010 12:47PM - By Jared Newman
Can a video game prevent teens from having sex? I don’t know, but I have my doubts about University of Central Florida’s crazy motion capture game that’s supposed to promote abstinence. According to Fox News Orlando, Female students selected from after-school programs will slip on MoCap suits and play a simulation, in which they might be asked to make out or confront sexual innuendo. Here’s the best part: The game was created with $434,000 of federal funding.
Monday, May 10, 2010 4:14PM - By Benjamin Opal
Your headaches, backaches and bellyaches could be gone with a nice, long session of binge video gaming, according to a report in the Times of India. A couple of scientists are noted for studying the issue, but neither of them knows exactly why video games have an analgesic effect. All they can say is that a deeply immersing video game makes the pain go away. Jeffrey I. Gold, associate professor of anaesthesiology and paediatrics at University of Southern California, said games are not merely a distraction. There may be something about virtual reality that changes the way your brain responds to painful stimuli (queue the Matrix conspiracy theories). The National Institutes of Health are funding a study by Gold to figure out exactly what’s happening in the brain.
Thursday, April 15, 2010 9:29AM - By Benjamin Opal
Contrary to popular belief, a study found that playing video games before bed doesn’t really affect teens’ ability to fall asleep. The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine (via the BBC), had teens spend 50 minutes playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare while tucked into bed, then timed how long it took them to fall asleep. Then, a week later, researchers measured time until sleep for the same group after they watched “March of the Penguins.” Although most of the 13 teenage boys, aged 14 through 18, took a little longer to fall asleep after playing Call of Duty, the difference wasn’t significant — roughly 7-and-a-half minute after gaming and 3 minutes after watching the movie.
Monday, April 5, 2010 8:35AM - By Jared Newman
From the fascinating world of loosely correlated video game studies comes word that computer games can be bad for your teeth, provided you’re binging on sugary snacks while you play. Yes, this is one of those stories where one factor doesn’t necessarily have to do with the other, but makes a great headline (see: video games and rickets). According to a study by Jordan Poss at the University of Iowa, and presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Dental Research, teenagers who spend a lot of time in front of a screen are more than twice as likely to develop tooth decay than teens who lead an active lifestyle, the Western Mail reports.
Thursday, February 11, 2010 10:00AM - By Jared Newman
Time-based games tend to weigh on my psyche and stress me out, but some new research suggests that I’d actually have more fun if the clock ticked faster. Psychologist Jamie Madigan at GameSetWatch explains two studies from the University of Chicago on how people perceive time, and how that might affect video games. The gist? When people see time elapse quickly on a clock, they think of the old axiom that time flies when you’re having fun. But here’s the twist: In two studies where researchers sped up the clock, without the subjects’ knowledge, those subjects reported greater enjoyment of the activity, whether it was listening to a music track or hearing a repetitive, annoying noise.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010 10:57AM - By Jared Newman
Studies underway by the Office of Naval Research found that video game players are better-equipped to fight the war on terror, for all the reasons you’d expect. Games help adults process information quickly and solve problems on the fly — valuable tools when you’re at war. Compared to people who don’t play video games, gamers performed 10 percent to 20 percent better on perceptual and cognitive ability tests. It seems obvious, but ONR Program Officer Ray Perez said in a Department of Defense story that the results are surprising, because it was once believed that brain cell capacity was achieved at age 20. But video game training programs are resulting in greater focus and expanded field of vision. It’s not clear what the research entailed to produce these results.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009 9:32AM - By Jared Newman
Here’s a confession: I did horribly in high school trigonometry, because instead of paying attention, I played Tetris on my TI-83 graphing calculator. A new study suggests that might’ve been a wise move, because playing Tetris could make you smarter and more coordinated. Mind Research Network found that the game can evoke “positive changes in our brains,” notably in the areas of critical thinking, language processing and the planning of coordinated movements. Sounds about right to me. You should see how I pack up a car before long road trips — not an empty square of space to be found. Meanwhile, I can’t remember the last time I had to use trigonometry. [Mind Research Network via Crispy Gamer]