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

nt factor as well. Those subjects under the age of 25 had a 156% increase in left brain alpha, indicating a substantial decrease in avoid/withdrawal brain activity when compared to those subjects age 25 and older. In addition subjects under 25 had a significant increase in right brain activity (318%) indicating that they also had an increase in approach/engage brain activity. On the other hand, those subjects age 25 and older experienced an 891% increase in right/left brain synchrony indicating a greater mental relaxation state. (Additional break-outs of the study data by gender and age are available online.)

Psychological Tension

Peggle had the greatest effect on psychological tension, with study subjects who played that game averaging a 66% reduction compared to 36% reduction among those who played Bejeweled 2 and 24% reduction among players of Bookworm Adventures. Specifically with respect to Peggle, female subjects accounted for two thirds of the overall reduction in tension after playing that game.

Anger

Bejeweled 2 and Peggle had similarly positive effects on subjects' anger levels, reducing anger by 65% and 63%, respectively. Bookworm Adventures had a more modest effect, reducing anger by 33%. Among female subjects, Peggle produced the greatest anger reduction, 86%. Men experienced the greatest reduction of anger while playing Bejeweled 2 (63%). "Peggle may have reduced anger more effectively in women due to its light-hearted characters and somewhat cartoony presentation featuring unicorns and rainbows," Dr. Russoniello conjectured. "For men, it's likely the nature of this game -- Bejeweled 2 encourages focus, introspection and calmness -- which facilitated a release of anger-oriented feelings like certain other therapeutic activities such as art."

Depression

All three games had similar effects on depression, reducing subjects' depressions levels by 45% (Peggle), 43% (Bookworm Adventures) and 37% (Bejeweled 2). Among
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SOURCE East Carolina University
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