Monday, 26 May 2008

Games - Another excuse (if one were needed)

Another study has thrown up some interesting facts about the effects on the individual of playing video games.

Could it be the copy cat hacking and slashing of innocent passers by? Believing that one is a hedgehog bent on collecting golden rings? Or thinking that just because you can execute a perfect cover drive on screen you will be able to do the same when you get to the middle in real life?

Not at all. Researchers at Penn State have shown Video games that energize players and induce a positive mood could also enhance creativity. It also showed that players who were not highly energised and had a negative mood were even more creative. Graduate students were asked to play a popular video game, Dance Dance Revolution, at various levels of complexity. The students took a standard creativity test after playing. The researchers also took readings of the players' skin conductance and asked players if they were feeling either positive or negative after the game.

Two emotional variables were studied, arousal (the degree of physical excitation as measured through skin conductance) and valence which is the range of positive or negative feelings.

The researchers found that players with a high degree of arousal and positive mood were most likely to have new ideas for problem solving. The statistical tests also revealed that creativity scores were highest for players with low arousal and a negative mood.

In real-life terms, the study appears to indicate that after playing the game, happy or sad people are most creative, while angry or relaxed people are not.

The researchers suggested that either high or low arousal is key to creativity. In other words, medium amounts of arousal are not conducive to creativity.

S. Shyam Sundar, professor of ‘film, video and media studies’ (tough job I would imagine, should have done astrophysics for an easy life) at Penn State suggested that the study could offer a set of rules that could be applied to a video game to see if it can make a person creative or lead to creative outcomes as soon as the game is over.

"We are not looking just at creative games, but what emotional elements of games can serve as an engine to spark creative thought and new problem solving skills," the Professor said.

He envisions a scenario in which the emotional drivers that video games provide could be harnessed for creative outcomes, either in a classroom setting, or for corporate decision-making.

So in an ideal world just before you toddle off to your next strategy meeting at work. Where the business is up against it and everyone is relying on you to come up with some half decent ideas to resolve the situation you should play a networked game of one sort or another, lose really badly and as a result end up feeling just a bit miserable about the whole thing.

My normal level of game playing will probably ensure the latter. Just need to persuade the Head of Department of the virtues of the plan.

I did try to think of a few comedic examples of which games creative genii might have played in an historical re imagining. But not being in an astoundingly happy or sad mood I just couldn't come up with any. So as a last bit of Bank holiday homework any suggestions (if you are so minded to do so) would be appreciated.


Jeremy Jacobs said...

Leaves me dead all this video game stuff

jmb said...

I have a 45 yr old son who is a serious gamer, but only strategy type games.
I have never understood it until now that I have become hooked on Second Life which of course is not a game as everyone will tell you.

Nunyaa said...

Video games are a no-no in our house. As much as I love ps2, I will never have one again. The difference in behaviours is obvious. Moody, aggressiveness, general irritability and that is just from the kids. So out it went, when they leave I'll buy another lol.

Moggs Tigerpaw said...

I go with JMB on this one totally.

Like final Fantasy (not played but seen it) crossed with the Sims.

Sl is more than just a game. As they say, "Second Life - Get one".

CherryPie said...

I have never been into video games. But recently I bought a Wii and have got quite hooked on that!

Letters From A Tory said...

Energise players? Isn't that just called 'adrenalin'?

Lord Nazh said...

Action games develop hand-eye coordination; stragety games develop lateral thinking and problem solving; role-playing games develop imagination and enhance 'people' abilities. And they all develop and enhance competitiveness ... nothing to not love :)

katekatekatekate said...

I couldnt manage without games, its what keeps our familly going. Recently got a nintendo wii and its brilliant for familly games and doesnt have any adverse effects on any of us. With the kids autism games can be a way of life in that they need some of the routines that games give.

Nunyaa said...

You know what game besides golf i was hooked on, Ghost Recon, I loved it and got quite good at sneaking up on my opponent (when playing 2 player games with split screen) and didn't they howl when I blasted them with anti tank rockets lol.

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