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Myth busted: Video games benefit mental health, says Oxford University study

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The study done by the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom has confirmed that there is a positive relationship between the amount of time that people play video games and their mental well-being, something completely contrary to what the common people believe, quite widespread is the belief that video games “damage your brain.”

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This is based on the experiences of the players in two specific companies, Electronic Arts and Nintendo, and in the experiences of more than 6500 players in titles of these developers, such as Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Plants vs Zombies: Battle for Neighborville. The majority of survey responses came from Animal Crossing, representing over 6,000 responses used for the study, added to another 2,700 from the dataset.

The project compared users’ gaming data (anonymously, without any personal information) with surveys conducted after each session. The results showed a relationship between playing time and the mental state of the players, showing that participants who played longer were more likely to express positive feelings and demonstrate mental well-being.

The study emphasizes that although the results show a positive improvement in users, this does not mean that a game by itself makes you happy.

“We are aware of emphasizing that we cannot claim that playing time causally affects well-being”, the researchers wrote.

“The aim of this study was to explore whether target gaming behavior is related to mental health and how we play. We were successful in capturing a snapshot of that relationship and getting an initial insight into the relationships between video games and mental health.”

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