Video Games Can Be Powerful Painkillers!

Washington October 01, 2005 3:24:36 PM IST
The next time your mum asks you to stop playing that video game, politely tell her that the game is not as harmful as she thought, and may infact, be helpful in reliving pain.
According to a new study by Dr. Bryan Raudenbush, associate professor of psychology at Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, sports and fighting video games produce a dramatic level of pain distraction.
"These gaming distractions may be most helpful in children and young adults undergoing painful procedures or suffering from chronic pain, as these individuals comprise the largest gamer demographics," said Raudenbush.
The study examined the effect of certain types of video games on pain perception. Six video game types (action, puzzle, arcade, fighting, sport, and boxing) and a control condition were used, with each condition separated by at least 24-hrs. Prior to and during the sessions, physiological measures were monitored (pulse, blood pressures, oxygen saturation).
Participants completed a 5-minute practice period, and then played the specific game for 10-minute. They were then subjected to a cold pressor test. Pain ratings were made on a scale from 0-10 every 30-sec to a maximum of 5-min. Additional questionnaires measured aggressiveness, competitiveness, video game playing habits, mood, and work-load.
It was found that game play produced an increase in pulse as compared to the baseline condition. This increase in pulse was greatest in the action, fighting, sports, and boxing games. Pain tolerance was greatest for the sports and fighting games. The sports game produced the greatest level of anger.
The action and puzzle games produced the most mental demand, the largest physical demand was associated with the boxing game, and the temporal demand was greatest in the arcade and boxing games.
Performance ratings were highest in the boxing and puzzle condition, and frustration ratings were highest in the arcade and boxing conditions. (ANI)

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