Violence and Video Games are two words that typically go hand-in-hand. Researchers have been studying how video game violence effects young ones, and measures have been put in place to try and keep mature content out of the hands of children and teens. The game ratings system has probably been the biggest measure put in place to help buyers make an informed decision on whether or not the game is appropriate for their children.

Some of the research that has been done suggests that playing violent video games will increase aggressive behavior in children and young adults.  Experiments have done to try and support this which I’ve actually taken part in.  It was a short one-hour deal where I was put in a room and asked to play a variety of “violent” and “aggressive” video games.  After I had experimented with the games, I was given a series of questions surveying my feelings after the game. Hundreds of people did the same thing, and the results were going to be compiled to show how the video games affect mood.

The video game industry has had a lot of blame placed on them over recent years, but now they may have a chance to prove that they are good for something afterall! This new genre of video games is inspired by Nintendo’s Brain Age, and its purpose is to help people feel good about themselves.

A psychology professor in Montreal Canada has designed a game called MindHabits Booster. The professor, Mark Baldwin says that the game was designed to help shape how people think and perceive themselves. According to CNET, “The game tries to address insecurity and stress by having players repeatedly pick a smiling, approving face from a group of frowning faces, training players to look for acceptance and ignore rejection.”

Besides therapeutic benefits, more recently there have also been articles published about the improved health benefits, attitudes, and behaviors of children participating in the game Dance Dance Revolution.

So now instead of a focus on violence and aggression, researchers have turned to find ways in which Video Games are of use to society.  At the University of Rochester, researchers have reported that video games are played to fulfill psychologic needs like opportunity for achievement, freedom, and a sense of connection to others.

You can try out MindHabits Booster here, and while I wouldn’t say that I really got much from the game, it’s about the underlying factors. Clearly video games aren’t going anywhere, and it’s about time that the good in them is pointed out and then used to create games in the future that can be of use to society to help fill those psychologic needs which researchers say are fulfilled by playing games. No need for therapy… play a game!