Mind, Body and Soul

Wii Have To Believe

Tag: Hardware and Technology, Mind, Body and Soul, Nintendo

On Friday (7.11.08) SiliconRepublic.com gave a report about the Nintendo Wii being used for psychological experiments. One of these tests concluded that we have a ‘truth bias', meaning we are more likely to believe things we read or hear, before thinking otherwise.
Dr Rick Dale, a psychology expert from University of Memphis, said "The Wiimote is in fact the perfect interface to perform these kinds of experiments...
...As the game itself is already designed to absorb a person's body into the video-game experience, we just have to hook the Wiimote into a lab computer, and we can enjoy the rich streaming data that video games typically use, but this time, track them in experiments."
Many psychologists, until recently, thought that thinking and moving were controlled by separate subsystems in the human mind. Dr Dale, after the tests said, "We often begin to act before we think, even when making relatively simple decisions. Some might say that we even think through our actions."
The experiments were simply ‘Yes/No' or ‘True/False' questions, and the subject used the Wiimote, by using the infa-red pointer, to answer. The data that was then collected showed how the pointer would first hover over ‘Yes' or ‘True' before stopping on ‘False'. This shows us that we have a tendency to believe things first, however wrong they are, and then work out the answer secondly. Of course this happens incredibly quickly and without us knowing about it. It also shows us that the body was in motion before the thought processes were completed, that is to say we didn't think about our actions first.

Health, Education and Nintendo Wii

Tag: Mind, Body and Soul, Nintendo

This isn't something we as gamers have really heard before; we have had consoles slated for many years over whether they are good for us or not. I used to get told by my parents that my eyes will turn square if I play too much, and I'm ko. Now we have the motion-sensing abilities of the Nintendo Wii and all this has changed.
For most of us, the Wii is just a console with some amazing features, unlike any other so far. The motion-sensing abilities I believe have changed the way we see the future of playing video games as a whole. But now take a step back and think about people with physical/mental disabilities. Not all of them will be able to play such games, especially using a control-pad. The buttons will be too small and fiddly, and remembering to press the correct one at the right time can be extremely hard and frustrating, if not impossible. This means big companies like Sony or Microsoft are going to be losing out on a new category of gamer. Whereas Nintendo, by pushing new technologies and gambling with new concepts have increased their target audiences exponentially, and have in fact created new gamer types. They are now developing games for the family at home, the casual gamer, and girl gamers, three genres that up until now have been left in the corner to rot.

Do MMORPGS Promote Terrorism?

Okay, so any World of Warcraft player knows how annoying the scourge disease was during the in-game Halloween celebrations. Sure, it was fun for the first ten minutes to go around infecting others, making a massive zombie army to attack one of the capital cities. However, after an hour of constantly being infected and dying, I was unable to accomplish anything and ended taking a break from the game until the Halloween celebrations ended. However, experts are saying that this annoying yet harmless addition to WoW can be used to study terrorism.

Due to the nature of how the disease spread, expert Charles Blair believes that the game could information on how terrorists form tactics and plans (http://www.cetisresearch.org/people/blair.html). In order to effectively spread the disease, a player must go to a town or city and infect other players. This can be done by simply attacking each other, using an ability which throws so liquid that infects people in a small radius, or by doing a channeling ability which sacrifices the player at the expense of infecting a large area around them. Similar to actual terrorist tactics in the real world, studying players' reactions to such events is being used to gather data for what would happen in the real world. Some players try to stop the infection from spreading. Some want to join the leagues of the undead. Others run away, or stop playing all together. However, due to the fact that dying really isn't a big deal in World of Warcraft (simply speaking with a spirit healer or running to their corpse revives a player), the study is being taken with a grain of salt.

Violent games make violent kids

Tag: Mind, Body and Soul

We've all done it. Walked out of a cinema after watching Rambo and started knifing the air/a nearby bollard/your mates. Or, after a hefty stint on Grand Theft Auto, yearned for a world where it was kind of OK to steal someone's car, find a small arsenal of weapons and lay waste to an entire city. But a new study in America has found that playing violent video games not only increases the likelihood of an immediate rise in violent behaviour, it also has an effect in the months to come.

An investigation published this month in the US medical journal Pediatrics set out to see if normal children in both America and Japan grew more violent after playing violent games. They already knew this was the case in the short term, but very few studies had followed up their analysis over months to see the long-term effects. Guess what? Six months down the line, those same kids were still acting more violently than before the test.

Now, one important thing to note is the study's definition of ‘violence'. It's pretty broad. While you or I may think of violent games as those that depict guns, blood, guts and death, the guys at Pediatrics expand the definition to mean any behaviour where an individual inflicts harm on another who presumably doesn't want to be harmed. All those years you were innocently offing Koopa Troopas in Mario by jumping on their heads? Well those guys didn't want to be harmed. You were being violent.

Is this telling us something we already kind of knew? Perhaps. But at least now we've got it in writing from proper science bods. So next time you see a kid playing a game where they are forced to inflict harm on seemingly innocent enemies, it's perhaps best to stay out of their way for a couple of months - or at least make sure they can't get into the knife drawer.

Gaming its all in your head

Tag: Mind, Body and Soul

A recent study by the Stanford University School of Medicine researchers has demonstrated that the part of the human brain that gives us feelings of reward and accomplishment is more activated in men than women when playing video games. This goes to explain why males are more excited by, and more likely to become hooked on, video games than females.

To complete the study the researchers designed a game involving a vertical line (the “wall”) in the middle of a computer screen. 10 balls are on the right of the wall and travel toward it. When a ball is clicked, it disappears. If the balls are kept away from the wall, the wall moves to the right and the player gains territory, if not - they lose territory. 11 men and 11 women were tested and, hooked up to scientific equipment, dynamic images of brain activity were produced to which parts of the brain were working during game play. Both men and women were motivated to win the game and understood what to do, but the men were more motivated to succeed. Read More  »

Video games WONT make you blind

Tag: Mind, Body and Soul

An American study actually found that playing video games is good for your eyes

A video games study conducted at the University of Rochester in the US has found that people who play video games, especially action games, for a couple of hours a day over the a month may see a 20 percent improvement in their vision. Video games, according to this study, changes the way the brain processes visual information.

Action games, according to the study, push the player's visual system to its limits and the brain learns to adapt to it and consequently improve. The subjects were given an eye test such as used at regular opticians and then divided into 2 groups--one played FPS action games for an hour a day while the control group played a less visually complex game. Their vision was tested after the study and those who played the FPS games scored better on the eye exam. This means that visual defects and injuries could in future be treated with, probably not a session on COD4, but some other type of visually demanding games.

Top Marks For Gaming

Tag: Mind, Body and Soul

Top Marks For Gaming

The Stress Institute, some clever bods in the US, have identified gaming as a fantastic way to beat the stress in the build up to exams and deadlines. As a cause of both physical and mental illnesses, the experts have concluded that playing so called "casual games" is great for releasing stress busting hormones and endorphins.

Pogo.com seems to be the chief beneficiary of this report so far as the Stress Institute has partnered with them to promote the stress benefits of having breaks from studying and revising by playing their games like sudoko and bejeweled - very handy piece of marketing for Pogo thats for sure.

The report claims that these casual games are better than 'proper' games like Warcraft, because they provide easy, quick entertainment with mental challenges. Well maybe but how long does it take to load up a game of Pro Evo and get a game with someone online? Personally i'd say half an hour playing any game is a great stress relieving tool. During my finals and dissertation a half hour session on mario kart 64 was a blessed salvation for all of us and we were all refreshed and ready to hit to books again!

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