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War simulation games help real soldiers sleep

According to a new study, soldiers who actively play games like Call of Duty were less likely to have violent and emotionally draining dreams than those who don't play video games as often or who tend to play casual games instead.

The results come from a survey by Grant McEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta in Canada. Researcher Jayne Gackenbach surveyed 98 military officers and broke them down into two groups which she referred to as "high gaming" and "low gaming."

Those in the high gaming category played games several times as week and favored violent video games like Red Dead Redemption, World of Warcraft and Call of Duty.

The low gaming group consisted of people who said they only played games on a casual basis, and tended not to engage in the violent, aggressive titles.

Participants in both groups admitted to having nightmares about war, but those in the high gaming category said the dreams were not as intense, and they were more likely to be able to conquer whatever the opposing force was.

By contract, those classified as "low gamers" said the enemies in their dreams were more aggressive, and they expressed having feelings of helplessness.

While gamers and non-gamers alike certainly both make fine, competent soldiers on the battlefield, it appears being an active gamer helps on the subconscious level as well. Gackenbach referred to games like Call of Duty as "threat simulators," and said they can teach the mind to better deal with dangerous situations even when they arise in nightmares.

Gackenbach pointed out that many soldiers, when deployed, bring video games with them, "And it turns out, there may be a good reason to let them do that."

[Source: New Scientist]

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Mar 9, 2011

9 comments

  • SinTheta - March 17, 2011 7:11 p.m.

    To: Trg 564. And all others. Gaming is not bad for kids. It actually gets them involved in networking. They play games online and talk to all sorts of people they wouldn't have otherwise. In the end, it's all about how the parent controls their kid (Make them do their homework and also go outside and do something for awhile instead of playing games 24/7). I was born a gamer. I have been playing games religiously since my parents bought me the NES Which I was 5 years old. It builds your conscience, you look for things normal people who don't play games wouldnt even think of. In my opinion, I think that because I have been playing games for so long, it helps me logically think; I feel that kids get stuck in the bad culture that comes with online smack talking and lose focus on what they should really be paying attention to. Thats where the parents come in and control their children, eaither by watching them play or by playing with them. This gives them the chance to get the insite they need to be able to teach their child a lesson (Good or Bad). Games help everyone as long as they are playing for the right reason, and the parents have to enstill that into their children. There should be a game out there that teaches the importance of respect because American children are losing that battle, atleast in the area I live. Final Thought: Games Fine Tune your brain like a guitar. You think/react/respond quicker, you get that perfect sound, or in this case that instantaneous thought. Giving one an advantage over the one who does not interact with games.
  • Shagnasty - March 10, 2011 6:49 p.m.

    I think that's a Seabee in that pic. Yeah, we pretty much kick ass. But the survey said "officers", which is much different from enlisted. Uneducated error?
  • Vitreosity - March 10, 2011 3:38 p.m.

    We just KNOW that Faux News is going to get right on this one and admit that they're wrong.
  • insertdisk - March 10, 2011 9:29 a.m.

    Compare this survey from new scientist to the 'research' from a school teacher we had in the Metro in England yesterday studying 27 students and tell me which one is more credible.
  • RicePuddingUK - March 10, 2011 8:33 a.m.

    Hear we go Fox News, show this report to show how Games condition your brave servicemen and women, No? I hear you say? Oh, they'll probably screw it all up and says it resuts in more soldiers deaths.
  • Trg564 - March 10, 2011 6:30 a.m.

    So gaming is good for soldiers but bad for kids. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? ReCaptcha: frohu Missionary frohu sounds like a weird video game religion
  • CrimsonKnight13 - March 10, 2011 4:17 a.m.

    "I'm Commander Sheperd & this is my favorite 'survey' on the Citadel" That's at least what I'd imagine if such a survey was done to promote gaming in the Mass Effect universe...
  • spideralex90 - March 10, 2011 2:05 a.m.

    Nice to have the industry shown in a good light.
  • nadrewod - March 10, 2011 1:03 a.m.

    Yes, a pro-gaming survey. I was wondering when the next one would come. However, I doubt that horror games would be as ideal, especially a horror game that makes you feel completely helpless, like Amnesia or Demon Souls (okay, so the last one is just uber difficult and not necessarily a "horror" game, but it would probably still give people some pretty scary nightmares).

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