The authors of the new study note that for three decades, scientists have tested mainly the negative effects of addiction to video games. We are talking about, for example, aggression, addiction, decline in cognitive functions. During this time, no consensus was reached on the impact of games on people’s psychological well-being.
In a new study, scientists from Oxford University collected objective data on people’s play behavior for the first time. They obtained anonymous remotely collected data on two games – Plants vs Zombies: Battle for Neighborville and Animal Crossing: New Horizons – from Electronic Arts and Nintendo. The study authors emphasize that objective information about how long people play is much more accurate than a survey. Such data have never been used in research before.
Invitations were sent to the players to participate in the study of their psychological state. More than three thousand people answered the questions of the online questionnaire.
It turned out that people do not spend much time playing games. Scientists point out that not the duration, but the very fact of the game is associated with an improvement in the psychological state. Analysis of the data showed that the psychological state of people is positively influenced by social connection with other players, a sense of their own competence in the game and simply having fun.
“Our data suggests that video games are not necessarily harmful to health. In practice, it can be an activity that makes a positive contribution to people’s mental health. Perhaps game regulation could leave these players without this benefit, said lead author of the study, University of Oxford professor Andrew Przybylski.
In 2019, a study that took Przybilski showed that the time teens spend with electronic devices is not related to their mental health.