AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

The Elderly, Video Games, and Mental Health

In our culture video games generally get a bad rap. Many people associate them the younger generations, as well as violence and time wasting. However, all of this focus on the negative has kept many people from seeing their potential benefits. According to new research by North Carolina State University, video games can improve the mental well-being of the elderly. The study consisted of 140 adults with an average age of about 77.5 years old grouped into three categories, non-gamers, occasional gamers, and frequent gamers (played at least once per week). These adults were then tested across six categories of mental health: Well-Being, Positive Effect, Negative Effect, Depression, Social Functioning and Self-Reported Health. In every category except for Negative Effect and Depression, both occasional gamers and frequent gamers scored considerably higher. Both forms of gamers experienced less Depression and Negative Effects than did the non-gamers. According to Dr. Jason Allaire, one of the main researchers behind the study, these games can be things like Solitaire or Bejeweled, and not fully fledged Xbox, PS3 or Wii games. This means that a large number of people can have access to these benefits, at a relatively low cost. In addition, video games have been found to have other positive effects on people, such as speeding up decision making and increasing awareness of surroundings. These studies are only the beginning of larger effort to examine the potential benefits of video games on people. Maybe video games aren’t that bad after all?

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1 Comment

  1. troybolton

    Very cool! It is interesting to see how video games can help elderly people with their mental health. It is also interesting how video games can help our children as well. It is shown that they can help kids with creativity, social skills, encourage exercise, as well as inspire a desire to learn about history and culture. These are just some of the advantages of having kids play video games.

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