October 21, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

UMass student charged in connection with alleged involvement in racist vandalisms -

Monday, October 20, 2014

BREAKING: Police investigating death of 21-year-old female in McNamara Hall -

Monday, October 20, 2014

Protect Our Breasts runs Breast Cancer Awareness campaign -

Monday, October 20, 2014

Underclassmen lead UMass hockey to first victory of the season -

Monday, October 20, 2014

Super Smash Bros. 3DS: A classic revitalized -

Monday, October 20, 2014

Dear Chancellor: Improve the FAC -

Monday, October 20, 2014

UMass women’s soccer shut out by Rhode Island -

Monday, October 20, 2014

Students at UMass rally to show support for Hong Kong -

Monday, October 20, 2014

Duolingo makes learning a language easier -

Monday, October 20, 2014

UMass men’s swimming and diving falls to Army; women’s team gets revenge -

Monday, October 20, 2014

UMass field hockey gets back to .500 with win over BU Sunday -

Monday, October 20, 2014

‘Columbus Day’ demonstrates ignorant view of the past -

Monday, October 20, 2014

Students for Justice in Palestine aims to spread awareness, not argue -

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mending fences: SGA and Amherst officials work together to improve town/gown relations -

Monday, October 20, 2014

UMass men’s soccer drops 5-0 decision to Saint Louis -

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Phablet continues to grow and maintain popularity -

Monday, October 20, 2014

Dayton Flyers soar at Rudd Field, 4-1 over the Minutemen -

Sunday, October 19, 2014

UMass football’s Sharpe continues his banner season in 36-14 win over Eastern Michigan -

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Shadrach Abrokwah has career day in UMass football’s 36-14 win over Eastern Michigan. -

Saturday, October 18, 2014

UMass tops Eastern Michigan 36-14, puts together first FBS winning streak -

Saturday, October 18, 2014

UMass psychologists study the effects of casual video games

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

New research from the University of Massachusetts’ psychology department has found that adults who play casual online video games report a variety of cognitive benefits based upon their age group.
“Most of what we hear about video games concerns their detrimental effects on players. This study shows that people perceive many positive effects, even though the games can be addictive,” said UMass professor Susan Whitbourne, who conducted the study along with undergraduates Stacy Ellenberg and Kyoko Akimoto.
The study was published in the December 2013 issue of Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.
The researchers formulated an online survey in which they asked more than 10,000 adults between the ages of 18-80 a series of questions and allowed them to include additional comments about a popular free online game called Bejeweled Blitz.
Bejeweled Blitz started as a free Facebook application in which users can compete with their friends and achieve a superior ranking on weekly leaderboards. The goal is to match gems of the same kind and color in order to get the highest score in less than one minute.
The main purpose of the study was to learn about patterns of game play among adults as the first step toward learning if casual video games could help adults improve their cognitive functions, according to Whitbourne.
The majority of people surveyed cited the opportunity to compete against their friends as their primary reason for playing the game, especially among those 18-29 years old, according to a UMass press release.
The second most frequently cited reason was different for every age group. Among middle-aged adults (ages 30-58), the game helped to relieve stress. In contrast, older adults (ages 60 and older) stated they sought out the game for mental challenges, according to the release.
The perceived benefits among the respondents to the survey also differed among each age group. A large percentage of the young adults surveyed said that playing the online game helped them feel more mentally alert and improved their memory. On the other hand, the older subjects said they perceived the benefits to be an improvement in visuospatial ability and reaction time, according to the release.
One of the most surprising results the researchers found was that older adults were most likely to report the heaviest game play patterns. Additionally, the proportion of older adults who reported to be casual gamers was larger than the psychologists expected, and the majority of them played these games for the mental challenge.
The most significant benefit of online casual video gaming is still uncertain. Whitbourne and her team are currently performing studies to find out if casual video games, such as Bejeweled Blitz, can benefit attentional abilities and quicker performance in older adults. Apart from this, “it appears that these games help adults feel socially connected,” Whitbourne said.
Cecilia Prado can be reached at sprado@umass.edu.

Comments
One Response to “UMass psychologists study the effects of casual video games”
  1. Certus says:

    Currently I can not find the link, but I read some time ago that people who in their youth were playing a lot of arcade games are much better surgeons than those people who did not have contact with such games at all.

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