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Study: Casual Video Games Demonstrate Ability to Relieve Stress, Improve Mood: Potential Clinical Significance Highlighted
Date:4/28/2008

First-of-Its-Kind 6-month Research Project Establishes Effects of Puzzle

and Word Games on the Human Body and Mind

GREENVILLE, N.C. and SEATTLE, April 28 /PRNewswire/ -- East Carolina University's Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies today revealed the results of a six-month long, randomized, controlled study that measured the stress-relieving and other mood-lifting effects of so-called "casual" video games. The three puzzle and word games used in the study, Bejeweled(R) 2, Peggle(TM) and Bookworm(TM) Adventures, are all made by PopCap Games, the leading developer and publisher of casual video games. (PopCap underwrote the study and provided copies of the games for research purposes.) The hypotheses were tested using state-of-the-art technologies and methodologies to measure heart-rate variability (HRV), electroencephalography (EEG) and subjects' mood states pre- and post-activity (POMS). The study yielded significant findings in several areas while identifying potential therapeutic applications of casual games as a means of addressing serious mental and physical disorders. Due to the significance of the findings and their implications in health promotion, disease prevention and treatment, East Carolina University's Psychophysiology Lab is planning to start clinical trials in the fall to determine the efficacy of these games and their prescriptive parameters.

In all cases, the changes in stress levels and mood were measured in comparison to a control group that experienced a Web-based activity similar in physical and mental nature to the game-playing groups. Full results of the study will be presented at the Games for Health Conference in Baltimore, Maryland on May 8, 2008 by the director of the study, Dr. Carmen Russoniello, associate professor of recreational therapy and director of the Psychophysiology Lab and Biofeedback Clinic at ECU's College of Health and Human Performance. The study results will also be published
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SOURCE East Carolina University
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