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Games like crossing animals are good for your mental health, according to research from the University of Oxford

Moving animals to new horizons© Nintendo

A new study from Oxford University claims that video games are good for your mental state.

The groundbreaking study, conducted in collaboration with university academics working for the first time with real gameplay data, focused on people playing Animal crossing: New horizons and Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville.

While previous surveys focused on often inaccurate game time data provided by the players themselves, this new study was one of the first to benefit from actual game time data; the Oxford University team was able to connect the questionnaires completed by the participants indeed playback tracks.

Andrew Pszybilski, the project̵

7;s lead researcher, said that before the study, he was shocked at how few gaming companies have data on the people who play their products. He was also concerned that hard data did not appear to be included in previous studies on the effects of gaming on humans.

Przybilski said:

This is related to the inclusion of games in the field of non-fire psychological research. This allows us to explain and understand games as a leisure activity. The aim was to find out whether the data collected by gaming companies are vaguely useful for academic and health policy research?

He added that the study “shows that if you play Crossing Animal for four hours a day, you are a much happier human being, but that’s only interesting because all the other research has done so badly before.” However, he wants to emphasize that this study does not reflect the various negative aspects of games, but by conducting more research, they can better understand what causes them:

I am very confident that if the research continues, we will learn about the things we consider toxic in games, and we will have evidence of those things as well.

It is worth noting that the study covers only the two mentioned games, which are intended for all ages; Animal Switching: New Horizon, it should also be noted, is a very chilled experience, so it’s hardly surprising that playing it makes people feel happier and more satisfied. It is noted that games that are “inherently” enjoyable may offer a different response from those who are focused on more “external” behavior, such as the feeling that you are being harassed by other players or excellent game mechanics.

Ultimately, Przybylski hopes that this study – coming from such a prestigious academic institution – will force other people studying the effects of video games to insist on more accurate evidence and data, especially after some organizations issue statements that paint video games. in a negative light:

You have truly respected important bodies, such as the World Health Organization and the NHS, by devoting attention and resources to something for which there is literally no good data. And that’s shocking to me, the reputational risk that everyone takes, given the stakes. To turn around and be like “hey, this is something that 95% of teenagers do? Yes, it is addictive, no, we don’t have any data – it doesn’t make sense.

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