Research: Using Games and TV to Relax Can Have Opposite Affect For Some Individuals

July 29, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

New research published in the Journal of Communication comes to the conclusion that some people who try to use media like video games and television to relieve stress instead have feelings of guilt or of "being a failure."

The research focuses on "ego depletion," which researchers describe as a state in which willpower is exhausted and a person's "cognitive resources" may be worn down. A person who is "ego-depleted" often feels tired or worn down, and may act more on impulse to make themselves feel better. Researchers found that when people in an ego depleted mental state indulge in TV or video games instead of "more important tasks," they ultimately feel guilty.

The research was conducted by Leonard Reinecke, an assistant professor at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany, and Tilo Hartmann and Allison Eden, professors at the VU University of Amsterdam. They noted in their published research that those who tend to be more fatigued after a work day were more likely to label their media use as simply another form of "procrastination," rather than a source of relaxation or entertainment.

"The ubiquitous availability of online content is even further extended by mobile internet access that makes media use possible at any time and any places and thus poses and even greater challenge to self-control," Reinecke told CBS News in an email.

He added that Facebook and Twitter are likely to have the same impact among those who are ego depleted.

"Facebook is frequently used to procrastinate, which makes a lot of sense: In many situations where we actually try to concentrate on something else, Facebook and other Web applications are just a click away and promise a pleasant escape from boring or exhausting tasks," he said.

Ultimately researchers hope this new data from their study will lead to solutions for people who need the benefits of relaxation the most.

"We're now trying to figure out in our ongoing research what strategies people could use to avoid feelings of guilt and enjoy the full spectrum of beneficial recovery effects," Reinecke told CBS News.

You can check out the study here.

Source: CBS News


Comments

Re: Research: Using Games and TV to Relax Can Have Opposite ...

It really depends on the game.  A lot of the games I've played recently have had horrible controls, so the character constantly dies due to the bad programming and a lack of gameplay testing.  That, in turn, raises my stress level because I get mad at the programmers who made the game engine.

- Left4Dead Why are zombies always eating brains? I want to see zombies that eat toes for a living. Undead-related pun intended.
 
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