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Do video games improve your mental health?

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Do video games improve your mental health?

Postby billionaireceo » Tue Aug 16, 2011 1:55 am

There's an article sort of about this
http://news.discovery.com/human/video-g ... 10804.html

I haven't played video games much since the 90s, but I've just played a very high-action game called Plazma Burst 2. After an hour of multiplayer, I feel too mentally tired to be paranoid or have hallucinations. This is just day 1, not sure if it'll last.
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Re: Do video games improve your mental health?

Postby Platypus » Tue Aug 16, 2011 2:12 am

I think the article is referring to specialised therapeutic computer-based training, not video games in general:
In one setup, Vinogradov created a control condition in which patients played entertaining video games not designed to treat the disorder. These patients did not show the same improvements as the experimental group, ruling out the notion that video games themselves could help.

It's a pity, because I'd like to believe that computer games are good for my mental health. :mrgreen:
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Re: Do video games improve your mental health?

Postby Rattatat » Tue Aug 16, 2011 2:20 am

I'm all for gaming and have done it a lot. I had really slow reflexes during the worst of my time so I took up counter strike to help speed me up a bit(Be capable of it). I also took up a few strategy games to help my thought processes and really enjoyed it. Mount and blade(warband is probably best) and also defense grid. I also played a bit of chess and poker but I guess the benefits only go so far. If there is an area that you struggle with in life then gaming is good way to improve your faults through practice. It's a good way to monitor yourself.
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Re: Do video games improve your mental health?

Postby billionaireceo » Tue Aug 16, 2011 2:29 am

Platypus wrote:I think the article is referring to specialised therapeutic computer-based training, not video games in general:
In one setup, Vinogradov created a control condition in which patients played entertaining video games not designed to treat the disorder. These patients did not show the same improvements as the experimental group, ruling out the notion that video games themselves could help.

It's a pity, because I'd like to believe that computer games are good for my mental health. :mrgreen:


Yes, I'm going off on a tangent from the article. If you play a really mentally and emotionally exhausting game, maybe that'll sap the energy used for being... batshit insane. I find my meds are a chemical equivalent of that, a sedative, pretty much.
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Re: Do video games improve your mental health?

Postby Platypus » Tue Aug 16, 2011 2:47 am

Ah cool, I understand what you mean then.
Games distract me when I am feeling depressed or agitated. They don't fix any of the underlying problems, but they allow me to escape them for a few hours or a whole day. They are very effective when I can't stop thinking about unhelpful things. :)

I would also agree that I have learnt things from games...but perhaps if I had spent the same amount of time reading or listening to the radio, I would have learnt just as much!
I think computer games skills can apply to other activities (such as reflexes, critical thinking, general knowledge, map-reading, memorisation etc.), but all hobbies can teach us useful skills.
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Re: Do video games improve your mental health?

Postby Rattatat » Tue Aug 16, 2011 2:59 am

Platypus wrote:Ah cool, I understand what you mean then.
Games distract me when I am feeling depressed or agitated. They don't fix any of the underlying problems, but they allow me to escape them for a few hours or a whole day. They are very effective when I can't stop thinking about unhelpful things. :)

I would also agree that I have learnt things from games...but perhaps if I had spent the same amount of time reading or listening to the radio, I would have learnt just as much!
I think computer games skills can apply to other activities (such as reflexes, critical thinking, general knowledge, map-reading, memorisation etc.), but all hobbies can teach us useful skills.


Well if you spent your time listening to the radio you might become a robot of an emtionally feed world of people who always complain. Reading is also not my thang. Your not looking so much to learn but to rewire your brain at your own pace and selection... which gaming provides very nicely for. If you want benefits then you have to be very critical of yourself and be prepared to sit at the bottom of the list and get laughed at but in the end you will have become a better person and have more confidence in yourself.
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Re: Do video games improve your mental health?

Postby billionaireceo » Tue Aug 16, 2011 3:06 am

When I listen to the radio I often suspect they're talking about me. And their playlist is only like 100 songs, bastards!
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Re: Do video games improve your mental health?

Postby Platypus » Tue Aug 16, 2011 3:18 am

Rattatat wrote:Well if you spent your time listening to the radio you might become a robot of an emtionally feed world of people who always complain.

Hehe, it probably depends which radio stations you listen to. Emotionally-driven complaints don’t sound very appealing! :lol:

I think any time we use our brains we strengthen certain neural pathways (at the cost of strengthening others.) So listening to the radio, solving a crossword puzzle, reading a book, folding a paper crane, deciding which route to take on a map, watching a film, talking on the phone etc. all stimulate certain areas of our brain. If you do one of these tasks all the time, then the areas of your brain that you use will be strong, and the others will probably be weakened by lack of use. (Note that I might be wrong about this - it's just how I understand it.)

So if you spent all day playing the one computer game, your brain might get really 'strong' at doing that one task, but it will grow weaker in other areas. I expect the best benefit comes from playing a variety of games, and intermixing it with other activities. (Although these days a lot of games are quite complex, so maybe they activate more of the brain than an old game like Pac-Man?)

And if you can gain confidence or self-esteem by mastering a game, that's great! :)
I tend to feel bad when I play games because my parents lectured me about how worthless they were, and I have trouble shaking-off their opinion.

billionaireceo wrote:When I listen to the radio I often suspect they're talking about me. And their playlist is only like 100 songs, bastards!

That sucks on both accounts. :(
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Re: Do video games improve your mental health?

Postby crazymoth » Tue Aug 16, 2011 7:27 am

I haven't read a book in 4 years. But I just got an iPad2. I downloaded like 500 science fiction books. Been reading and reading and reading.

Missed reading a lot. Now I can't put the iPad down. D'oh!
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Re: Do video games improve your mental health?

Postby Platypus » Tue Aug 16, 2011 7:56 am

crazymoth wrote:I haven't read a book in 4 years. But I just got an iPad2. I downloaded like 500 science fiction books. Been reading and reading and reading.

Missed reading a lot. Now I can't put the iPad down. D'oh!

That's interesting. Do you think if the iPad broke tomorrow you'd go back to reading paper books? Or is there something about reading on the iPad that makes reading more enjoyable for you?

(I've also stopped reading books. I'm not sure why. I guess I don't like fiction much and I don't seem to be able to concentrate for long enough to read books from cover to cover any more.)
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