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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MattsworknameAmen andrew, Amen05/04/2015 - 8:51pm
Andrew Eisenand we can all hopefully march towards a brighter future without them. Or, ideally, they act like decent human being and tag along.05/04/2015 - 8:40pm
Andrew EisenWhatever term we use, we end up creating an us vs them scenario and that's not conducive to what any of us want to achieve. Simply call out the jerk faces, no matter where you find them or what hashtags they do or do not use, condemn the behavior...05/04/2015 - 8:39pm
Mattsworknamesee a wider variety of roles for females in games as a whole, and I would love to see more games that are headed by a feamle lead succedding Hell, some of my faves have always had females. I would love to see more05/04/2015 - 8:32pm
MattsworknameI thnk that using groups is the wrong term andrew like you said, but, whats the better term, sides or movments? anyway, I actually agree with some things that anita and others have said, i would love more well writter females in games, I would love to05/04/2015 - 8:30pm
MattsworknameTwitter has beccome a virtual garbage dump over the last few years, I dont blame people from filtering twitter the way it is now05/04/2015 - 8:21pm
MattsworknameYou make a good point, i keep thinking of these as groups but there more movments then groups, I guess.05/04/2015 - 8:20pm
Andrew EisenAnd I wouldn't accuse people who block others on Twitter of being unwilling to discuss their views. From what I've seen it's mostly to keep from being harassed, dog piled, avoid topics you have no interest in, or simply to keep your Twitter feed readable.05/04/2015 - 8:16pm
Andrew EisenI don't know who you think the two groups are but I've never seen anyone claim that one group has a monopoly on people who misbehave (unless you're grouping the people who misbehave, of course).05/04/2015 - 8:14pm
MattsworknameI dont disagree on the jerks sentiment Andrew, so long as all agree that both side had there fair share of jerks got inolved with this whole clusterfark.05/04/2015 - 8:10pm
Andrew EisenI speak from experience. I'm not a jerk face and I've never had a problem discussing things with a huge variety of people.05/04/2015 - 7:59pm
Andrew EisenGreat, so long as they're not jerk faces, they should have no problem.05/04/2015 - 7:58pm
Goth_SkunkOr if they have the unfortunate distinction of following certain undesirables on Twitter. i.e. Milo Yiannopolous, Roguestar, Mundane Matt, C.H. Sommers, Mark Kern, Adam Baldwin et al.05/04/2015 - 7:53pm
Andrew EisenThere's no need for anyone who's not a jerk face to admit to vile actions they didn't commit.05/04/2015 - 7:52pm
Goth_SkunkI disagree. I believe all the parties wanting discussion are on the GG side. The parties against GamerGate aren't interested in discussion, as evidenced by the propensity to simply block people on social media the moment they identify as pro-GG.05/04/2015 - 7:51pm
Andrew EisenShe used to allow comments on her videos. Blame the jerk faces that that's no longer the case.05/04/2015 - 7:49pm
Andrew EisenSarkeesian has given plenty of talks in venues where anyone is welcome to attend. It's not her fault that most of her audience supports her. That said, she HAS fielded questions from detractors.05/04/2015 - 7:49pm
Mattsworknameboth sides to start taking things off the table that are not relevant to the actuall issues they hold, so we can find out where these 2 groups really stand, not what a biased media labeled them ass05/04/2015 - 7:48pm
Mattsworknamechallenge her or disagree. Second ,I want both sides to admit to the vile actions there more fringe and extreme supports commited and admit it was wrong on both sides. I want both sides to argue what there core issues are and why they hold them, and i wan05/04/2015 - 7:47pm
MattsworknameTo clarify andrew, in all that ive seen, anita only talks or gives qas to audiance that share her views, never any opposing viewpoints. She does not allow any commensts on her videos and only ever did interviews with those who support her, not those who05/04/2015 - 7:42pm
 

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