I really do have a lot of respect for psychologists, but early studies can be a bit of a case of pointing out the bloody obvious. Two studies publicised by the British Psychological Society this week fall firmly into that category, unfortunately.
First up, those favourite subjects of online games and violence.
People who play violent games online actually feel more relaxed and less angry after they have played.
Researcher Miss Jane Barnett of Middlesex University adds:
“There were actually higher levels of relaxation before and after playing the game as opposed to experiencing anger but this did very much depend on personality type.
“This will help us to develop a emotion and gaming questionnaire to help distinguish the type of gamer who is likely to transfer their online aggression into everyday life.”
So some people don’t get angry when they play games. And the study was conducted using World of Warcraft, which doesn’t strike me as the obvious choice for a violent online game.
Secondly, another favourite topic: addiction.
People who are addicted to playing computer games show some of the same personality traits as people with Aspergers syndrome.
And a bit from researcher Dr John Charlton of the University of Bolton:
“The thinking in the field is that there is a scale along which people, even those considered to be â€˜normal’, can be placed upon. And that people such as engineers, mathematicians and computer scientists are nearer to the non-empathising, systemising, end of the spectrum, with people with Aspergers syndrome even further along again.
“Our research supports the idea that people who are heavily involved in game playing may be nearer to autistic spectrum disorders than people who have no interest in gaming.”
Which could be interpreted as suggesting that gamers are more likely to be scientists. Well colour me shocked.
But if these studies lead to further serious research into gaming and the issues surrounding it, then that’s to be encouraged.