Study: Video Games fill psychological need, enhance well-being

Discussion in 'Video Games and Technology' started by flamepanther, Jan 19, 2007.

  1. flamepanther

    flamepanther Interested, but not really

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  2. Night Flame

    Night Flame TFW2005 Supporter

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    Yeah, the flip side of that study is that modern life is so empty and meaningless, with jobs where you do nothing but shuffle paperwork all day, that the ability to get high score, or make all the blocks disappear, or slay the dragon on a little computer or console feels like a major accomplishment.

    Not that there's anything wrong with that. I know I've been a little happier since picking up my PSP and the wife getting the PS2. It's nice to at least say, "Hey, I earned a new rank on Tekken DR tonight." Instead of "nothing" when I'm asked what I accomplished today.
     
  3. flamepanther

    flamepanther Interested, but not really

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    Yeah, but modern life has been that way for much longer than there have been video games. We were already aware what a sorry state it was.
     
  4. Spartan-117

    Spartan-117 Well-Known Member

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    I don't think it's an indication that modern life is somehow less fulfilling. The way I read the article it seems video games can have much the same effect as sports but no one thinks football is indicative of a shallow life.
     
  5. smangerbot

    smangerbot The Holy Zombie Jesus TFW2005 Supporter

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    now my grilfriend has to be impressed that i got an A on devil may cry.
     
  6. Night Flame

    Night Flame TFW2005 Supporter

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    Absolutely true. But, video games are filling a niche that has existed for all time, and that a lot of modern folks haven't figured out how to fill any other way.

    Well, my argument stems from an odd philosophy I developed way back when I was a kid. It's not fun to think about, but it's most likely got some roots in truth. Because, for the most part, grandpa's generation was a happier bunch of people. Oh, sure, they busted their ass day in and day out. They worked themselves into the ground. But, they felt fulfilled and OK with where they were. We tend to do piddly work to earn money so that we can spend that money on stuff that, in the end, really doesn't mean a thing to anybody, most likely even ourselves. Eventually we just need something to do to fill up that extra twelve hours a day that grandpa would have spent out in the fields or the milkbarn. Or, going back even further, it was easy to feel fulfilled and happy when the requirements were, "Did I get eaten by a tiger today, and did I get food?" Most folks today don't even know what the requirements are to being fulfilled. It's why a study like this would have even been done. We're trying to figure out what makes people happy, when what makes people happy is struggling to survive, and succeeding at it.

    And now that I've gotten everybody in this part of the board thinking I'm a psycho, I've got other people to annoy.
     
  7. flamepanther

    flamepanther Interested, but not really

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    Struggling to survive hasn't always been enough for everyone either. There are still people doing that today, and a lot of them are downright miserable. People don't want to just get by, whether it's comfortable and easy or whether they have to work their asses off for it. They want to thrive.
     
  8. Night Flame

    Night Flame TFW2005 Supporter

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    Struggling to survive these days isn't the same as it was when EVERYBODY was struggling to survive. I've probably tread too far into philosophy and touchy subjects already, but suffice it to say that it's tough to feel good about surviving when everyone around you is looking down their nose at you because you don't own enough crap.

    And the reason people don't just want to get by these days? Because we have time to think about what we don't have. Without that time, all the extra crap means nothing.

    None of this would make much sense to anyone who hadn't been through something outside of the modern world for a few years at some point though, so I'm pretty much just blowing into the wind here.
     
  9. Spartan-117

    Spartan-117 Well-Known Member

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    Filling up your time doesn't neccesarily mean you're fulfilled and happy, it just means you're too busy to think about it. There isn't much time to consider the nature of happiness when you've got a tiger trying to eat your face off or there are cows to milk or Nazis to shoot.
    I'm pretty sure a huge amount of WWII vets will agree with you that the war was the best time they ever had, watching their buddies get blown into smoking chunks. All those starving kids in Africa are probably having the time of their life too. I'll bet a homeless guy feels awesome too when he survives sleeping rough in sub zero temperatures. Please think about what you're saying.
     
  10. Night Flame

    Night Flame TFW2005 Supporter

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    I have. Everything you're talking about save the African starving children are symptoms of modern society. And nobody's happy starving.

    But I'll give up this path. It's pointless to try and discuss online, and people feel so strongly about how great modern society is that questioning it is tantamount to treason. So, you're right, I'm wrong. End.
     
  11. thefrozenred

    thefrozenred 4 8 15 16 23 42

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    It's interesting that most everyone is focusing on that last paragraph in the article...about how the world sucks, no opportunities to thrive, etcetc.

    This article isn't really anything new, though...other research has indicated that people are healthier when they have a goal to strive towards. For instance, some researchers were concerned that kids like Tara Lapinsky (unsure of the spelling, but the 16-year-old ice skater who won the gold medal in figure skating in 1998) would suffer a decline in self-esteem and overall well-being because they had achieved their dream. As such, unless they create a new goal for themselves, they have nothing left to work and strive towards, which likely leads to negative psychological health. So, in this way, I think the study is correct in talking about video games as a means to improve a feeling of achievement. They present the player with a very obvious and clear goal, and (especially given today's easier games) allow that player to reach that desired outcome while providing more (ie, collecting things in a game like Mario 64 or WoW, for instance). So, really, the article is just saying that video games are one more way of setting a goal for yourself, which then leads to increases in various intra/interpersonal domains.

    So...what happens when games don't net you any tangible success? You have a feeling of achievement, and yet there's nothing really *there.* There's no material reification, and (typically) no mental enlightenment. If games create a simulated sense of achievement, what are the effects? The article discusses people's motivation for playing games, but at the same time, I'm concerned with the implications that motivations bring.

    Does anyone else understand what I'm getting at..?
     
  12. Night Flame

    Night Flame TFW2005 Supporter

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    Yes. About the same thing I was trying to get at. Apparently I sucked at trying to convey it though.
     
  13. flamepanther

    flamepanther Interested, but not really

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    It's not about defending modern civilization. It's about having a sense of purpose. Struggling to survive, at any time, in any environment, will give a sense of purpose to some and not to others. Some people will just see themselves toiling in the dirt to feed themselves and their children, just like people do now. That's why we've always had religion and philosophy since before recorded history began. It gives a sense of meaning and purpose to people who might otherwise wonder what the hell the point of it all is. And we've always wondered what the point of it all is.
     
  14. Spartan-117

    Spartan-117 Well-Known Member

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    Not really, people have been killing the shit out of each other for a very long time and similarly people where doing without central heating for ages too. Hell I know modern society sucks, drugs, war and poverty plague us and we do unkind things to animals and the environment around us. I just don't think dumping everything to live like the Amish is gonna solve our problems. People will still fight and so on, what needs to change are the people and the way we think not necessarily the way we live. I'm sure if we wound back the clock people would be obsess over who has the better cows or producing the best grain instead of needing to buy the latest gadget or fast car.
     
  15. thefrozenred

    thefrozenred 4 8 15 16 23 42

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    I know the researchers studied the motivations behind playing video games, but I think it's a very, very dangerous thing when a person's "sense of purpose" is fulfilled by playing a video game. Maybe the person is to blame, maybe the culture is to blame...but, in any case, I think most people will agree that it's unhealthy, or at the very least, tragic.
     
  16. Wing alpha

    Wing alpha <b><font color=blue>I voted for Super_Megatron and

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    welll....Im happpy.
    videogames well I mean since i was a kid I dreamed of being a super hero, when I played megaman I saw something- at the time- megaman looked like kid, a kid on an armor who went beat the badguys. and I could be the good guy

    video games became therapeutical. as time went.

    I remember comming home in a bad day and switch up incomming - love that game to this day- and blasted aliens, today after I get dumped, I usually go play burnout legends. why? what better way to keep your mind of such things than doing everything EVERYTHING you cant do on the road.

    and when I play castlevania is more like a - besides fanboyims to see where the hell the story goes( when is the 1999 battle konami?) and besides It keeps me from going insane sometimes- same as books and biking-.

    besides being a way of bonding with friends.
     
  17. fschuler

    fschuler Member TFW2005 Supporter

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    I can't think of many better feelings as a kid than when I watched the last boss in Zelda II fall dead off of the bottom of the screen. Well-being for sure.
     
  18. OmegaSaber

    OmegaSaber Your buttcheeks is warm

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    They actually had a joke about this on the Weekend Update on SNL a little bit ago. Wasn't expecting that.
     
  19. toma

    toma eskimo in disguise

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    so the point of the study is that hobbies make bored people happy?
     
  20. thefrozenred

    thefrozenred 4 8 15 16 23 42

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    Yeah...that pretty much seems like it to me.

    But it's somewhat understandable in the case of video games, given the otherwise overdone vilification of them in the media. The researchers would probably find very similar results with people who build model airplanes (with the social interaction effect coming from meeting and talking to other people in model stores or via swap-meets or conventions).
     

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