Study – Violent games can help people, soldiers cope with nightmares

By Stephany Nunneley, Tuesday, 8 March 2011 20:15 GMT

An online survey conducted Jayne Gackenbach of Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton, Canada suggests that playing videogames that involve combat and war could help those in the military stave off nightmares and sleep better.

Speaking at GDC last week, Gackenbach polled 98 military personnel without pre-diagnosed mental disorders or PTSD, and found that those who played games like Call of Duty experienced less aggression and mental harm when they dreamt of war.

When compared to those who didn’t play shooters, soldiers who abstained found their dreams were more violent, and filled with feelings of helplessness.

The soldiers were divided into two groups based on the amount time spent gaming, and those in the “high gaming” group who played daily or several times a week tend to to be drawn to games like World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, and Red Dead Redemption. Those in the “low gamers” group played only a few times a year, and often only casual titles.

Gackenbach believes that playing violent games while awake works as a “threat simulator,” and provides the brain with a more intense outlet for dealing with stress and acts as a coping mechanism for soldiers who are in life threatening situations while awake.

“They’re taking (PlayStation 3’s, Xbox 360’s and other consoles) into the field and playing them all the time,” Gackenbachtold New Scientist. “And it turns out, there may be a good reason to let them do that.”

Thanks for the video, Kyle at Insolentboggle.

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