Video Games May Desensitize You — To Nightmares

Video games have been held under an intense microscope for a long, long time. They’ve been blamed for just about everything under the sun, so when a study comes out that shows one of the positives of playing games, it is truly something to behold. Case in point: Jayne Gackenbach, who theorizes that video games do desensitize you.

By helping you deal with your nightmares better. Gackenbach took two groups of combat veterans and separated them. One group were frequent gamers, spending more than enough time playing Call of Duty, Red Dead Redemption and whatever else you have. The other group were people who didn’t consider themselves to be “hardcore” gamers; people who played a lot of Farmville, or no games at all.

The results? Those who played games like Halo described their nightmares as being less intense, and felt that they had the ability to fight back. Those who didn’t play games are said to have felt more helpless.

One soldier explained to her exactly how it felt to play violent games while in a combat zone.

I would see many soldiers, in combat, with PSPs or anything we could hook up to 220v electricity. When soldiers werenít on patrol, we often had violent war games on our systems. It was weird. Like we didnít get enough violence.

Fun fact: I’m a veteran. I served in Iraq in 2006 and 2007. I can tell you from personal experience that yes, video games are used — frequently — to help soldiers unwind, cool down and otherwise assist in coping with the images they often see. I, myself, brought Resident Evil: Deadly Silence with me and spent more than a few nights losing myself in shooting zombies. It helped. Plus, if you don’t have something to distract you, well… you’ll quickly lose your mind.

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*Homepage Image: Nightmare. From Soul Calibur. See what I did there?

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