October 24, 2007
Video Games Reduce Perception Of Social Threats

By learning with video games people can be trained to feel less stress and produce less cortisol stress hormone.

A video game designed by McGill University researchers to help train people to change their perception of social threats and boost their self-confidence has now been shown to reduce the production of the stress-related hormone cortisol. The new findings appear in the October issue of the American Psychological Association's Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

"We already knew that it was possible to design games to allow people to practise new forms of social perception, but we were surprised by the impact this had when we took the games out of the lab and into the context of people's stressful lives," said McGill psychology professor Mark Baldwin.

Prof. Baldwin and his team - McGill PhD graduates Stephane Dandeneau and Jodene Baccus and graduate student Maya Sakellaropoulo - have been developing a suite of video games that train players in social situations to focus more on positive feedback rather than being distracted and deterred by perceived social slights or criticisms. The games are based on the emerging science of social intelligence, which has found that a significant part of daily stress comes from our social perceptions of the world.

These video games could be useful.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2007 October 24 10:37 PM  Brain Emotions


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