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

s in Aspects of Mood

Mood was measured in six different categories: Psychological Tension, Anger, Depression, Vigor, Fatigue and Confusion. Cumulatively, these six aspects of mood are called "total mood disturbance," with a decrease in total mood disturbance being a positive change in mood. In terms of total mood disturbance, Peggle had the greatest effect, improving mood by 573% across all study subjects compared to the control group (which saw a modest improvement in mood). Bejeweled 2 (435%) and Bookworm Adventures (303%) also had significant positive effects on subjects' overall mood. Interestingly, among those subjects who played Bejeweled 2, male subjects showed a 10% greater increase in total mood than female subjects, while females who played Peggle experienced a 40% greater improvement in mood than males who played that game. "It's not surprising that Peggle had the greatest effect on overall mood, given the game's over-the-top celebration of players' success each time they complete a level," noted Dr. Russoniello. "The other games also provide positive feedback to players, but not to the same extent or in the same 'exhilarating' fashion."

Data from electroencephalography (EEG) supports the study's hypotheses and confirms the participant's psychological assessment (POMS). All three PopCap(R) games increased mood but in different ways. Peggle significantly increased positive approach/engage brain activity, especially in females -- who accounted for 97% of the positive change. Bejeweled 2 significantly decreased brain activity associated with avoid/withdrawal activity. Males had a significant (191%) decrease when compared to females and significantly differed from the control group. Bookworm Adventures had the greatest impact on left brain -- right brain synchrony (421% increase). Males had a 214% greater increase in mood after playing Bejeweled and a 78% increase in mood after playing Bookworm Adventures, compared to females. Age was an importa
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SOURCE East Carolina University
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