Oxford research says games are good for the mind

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They have analyzed two titles for all audiences, Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Plants & Zombies: Battle for Neighborville.

Playing video games has not always been a socially welcome activity. In fact, for a time, it wasn’t unusual to find them alongside the roughest news. Despite the bad press they have gotten, a new study from the University of Oxford has found that playing can be beneficial for mental health. The results have been analyzed by academics, who have worked for the first time with data from real gameplay.

The study focuses specifically on two games: on the one hand, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, one of Nintendo’s greatest hits of 2020; on the other, Plants & Zombies: The Battle of Neighborville, by Electronic Arts. According to the results, people who tend to gamble tend to state that they feel better, which is contradicted by other hypotheses that stated just the opposite, that is, that they were harmful.

As The Guardian points out, thanks to the online approach to these games, research teams at the University of Oxford have been able to link the psychological questionnaires to the time players have spent enjoying these games. Previous studies have used to rely on the word of the sample, which caused a certain distortion of reality.

Playing Animal Crossing makes you happier

“It’s about bringing videogames to the field of psychological research,” said Andrew Przybylski, head of the research. “This allows us to explain and understand games as a leisure activity.” According to the academic, he was surprised that the video game companies had so little data on the players, but also about the little information that previous studies had used to determine the damages and benefits of the game. “If you play Animal Crossing for 4 hours a day you are a much happier human being, but this is interesting only because all previous research has been done wrong.”

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Those responsible for this study affirm that if everything goes ahead they will be able to determine if there is evidence that video games can also be harmful, although this time they have used two games for all ages.


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