Study: Video Games May Help Soldiers Fight Combat Related Nightmares

March 11, 2011 -

The results of a new survey reveal that video games help keep nightmares away. According to an online survey of 98 military personnel, regularly playing games that involve war and combat like Call of Duty help to decrease the level of "harm and aggression" dreamers feel when they are dreaming about war. Of those surveyed, soldiers who did not play games reported having more violent dreams combined with feelings of helplessness. The survey was conducted by Jayne Gackenbach of Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton, Canada. She presented some of her findings at the Game Developers Conference earlier this month.

To make sure her study profiled healthy and mentally stable soldiers, Gackenbach weeded out any soldiers with pre-diagnosed mental disorders, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Soldiers were divided into two gaming groups: high gaming and low gaming - based on how often they played video games. The high gaming group played every day or several times a week and played more immersive games like World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, and Red Dead Redemption. The low gaming group played video games as little as a few times a year and played more casual games.

Those in the high gaming group reported that their nightmares about combat were less intense and many in the group reported that they often felt able to fight back against whatever forces were threatening them in their dreams. Low gamers reported more incidents of feeling helpless against an aggressive, violent enemy. Gackenbach's theory based on this preliminary data is that playing violent games may serve as a sort of "threat simulator," a way of conditioning the mind to cope with intense and dangerous situations in nightmares.

In a presentation at the Game Developers Conference last week in San Francisco, Gackenbach used one soldier, who wrote to her, as an example. Here is what he said:

"I would see many soldiers, in combat, with PSPs or anything we could hook up to 220v electricity. When soldiers weren't on patrol, we often had violent war games on our systems. It was weird. Like we didn't get enough violence."

She added at the time that this might seem like an example of a game addiction but there was something more profound going on:

"But this counterintuitive scene might be more than just a manifestation of young men and women addicted to video games bringing their favorite diversions to war with them. It may be a form of self-medication. They're taking (Playstation 3's, XBox 360's and other consoles) into the field and playing them all the time," she told New Scientist. "And it turns out, there may be a good reason to let them do that."

Source: New Scientist


Comments

Re: Study: Video Games May Help Soldiers Fight Combat ...

It can help with stress, PTSD(which I suffer a bit from, phone calls don't bug me much anymore but knocks on the door send a chill down my spine...if I had one) .  It and genreal fiuction is a good way to relax for some/most people. But activtly working to find your issues and deal with them is also good.


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Papa MidnightIn case anyone is interested, there is a clause written into Section 10 of Windows 10's EULA that provides for a Class Action Waiver, and restricts the user to Binding Arbitration.07/29/2015 - 11:15am
TechnogeekNo, that folder is what gets used for the upgrade process. I already had the upgrade go through on my notebook.07/29/2015 - 10:35am
Andrew EisenMatt - And AGAIN, you keep saying "accountable." What exactly does that mean? How is Gamasutra not accounting for the editorial it published? How is it not accountable to its readership (which, AGAIN, is primarily game industry folk, not gamers)?07/29/2015 - 10:10am
james_fudgeThat's the clean install, for anyone asking07/29/2015 - 9:23am
TechnogeekAlso, it's the upgrade that's available for installation now. You might need to forcibly initiate the Windows Update process before it'll start downloading, though. (If there's a C:\$Windows.~BT folder on your computer, then you're in luck.)07/29/2015 - 8:46am
TechnogeekAdmittedly there's more room to push for an advertiser boycott when you get into opinion content versus pure news, but keep in mind that reviews are opinion content as well.07/29/2015 - 8:46am
TechnogeekMatts: There's a difference between "this person regularly says extremely terrible stuff" and "I don't like the phrasing used in this one specific editorial".07/29/2015 - 8:45am
MattsworknameWait, is that for the upgrade or the clean install only? cause I was gonna do the upgrade07/29/2015 - 8:32am
james_fudgehttps://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows1007/29/2015 - 8:30am
PHX Corp@Wilson, I'm still waiting for My upgrade notice aswell07/29/2015 - 7:57am
MattsworknameWilson: how? Im still waiting for my upgrade notice07/29/2015 - 3:44am
Matthew WilsonI updated to a clean instill of windows 10.07/29/2015 - 2:36am
Mattsworknameargue that it's wrong, but then please admit it's wrong on ALL Fronts07/29/2015 - 2:06am
MattsworknameTechnoGeek: It's actually NOT, but it is a method used all across the specturm. See Rush limbaugh, MSNBC, Shawn hannity, etc etc, how many compagns have been brought up to try and shut them down by going after there advertisers. It's fine if you wanna07/29/2015 - 2:05am
Mattsworknamediscussed, while not what I liked and not the methods I wanted to see used, were , in a sense, the effort of thsoe game consuming masses to hold what they felt was supposed to be there press accountable for what many of them felt was Betrayal07/29/2015 - 2:03am
MattsworknameAs we say, the gamers are dead article set of a firestorm among the game consuming populace, who, ideally, were the intended audiance for sites like Kotaku, Polygon, Et all. As such, the turn about on them and the attacking of them, via the metods07/29/2015 - 2:03am
MattsworknameAndrew: Thats kind fo the issue at hand, Accountable is a matter of context. For a media group, it means accountable to its reader. to a goverment, to it's voters and tax payer, to a company, to it's share holders.07/29/2015 - 2:02am
Andrew EisenAnd again, you keep saying "accountable." What exactly does that mean? How is Gamasutra not accounting for the editorial it published?07/28/2015 - 11:47pm
Andrew EisenMatt - I disagree with your 9:12 and 9:16 comment. There are myriad ways to address content you don't like. And they're far easier to execute in the online space.07/28/2015 - 11:47pm
Andrew EisenMatt - Banning in the legal sense? Not that I'm aware but there have certainly been groups of gamers who have worked towards getting content they don't like removed.07/28/2015 - 11:45pm
 

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