Study: Gaming fulfills basic psychological needs

gamerImagine this: it’s 3:30 a.m. and the lights are out. In front of the television, locked in his room, is a hardcore gamer. Eyes red and palms sweaty, he’s already loss track of the time. All he could think of is the futuristic AK-47 on his right hand and the enemies lurking in the shadows. He’s forty five years old.

Creepy, huh? Certainly, we are all not like that. But the point is, games has this certain charm that is painful to let go of. Sure, we know how fun it is to play games, but the psychologists over at the University of Rochester kicked it up a notch for us.

According to their latest study, the fun of playing games is actually rooted in fulfilling basic psychological needs.The study was done in collaboration with Immersyve, Inc., a virtual environment think tank. More than 1,000 players served as the population and the systems utilized in the study included various consoles and some MMORPGs. Study lead author Richard M. Ryan has this brief explanation:

We think there’s a deeper theory than the fun of playing. It’s our contention that the psychological ‘pull’ of games is largely due to their capacity to engender feelings of autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Some video games not only motivate further play but also can be experienced as enhancing psychological wellness at least short-term. Not all video games are created equal in their ability to satisfy basic psychological needs. But those that do may be the best at keeping players coming back.

The study was published in the university’s journal Motivation and Emotion. Other co-authors include graduate student Andrew Przybylski and President of Immersyve and Doctor of Psychology Scott Rigby. And so with that said, gamers unite! Go and fulfill your psychological needs!

gamerImagine this: it’s 3:30 a.m. and the lights are out. In front of the television, locked in his room, is a hardcore gamer. Eyes red and palms sweaty, he’s already loss track of the time. All he could think of is the futuristic AK-47 on his right hand and the enemies lurking in the shadows. He’s forty five years old.

Creepy, huh? Certainly, we are all not like that. But the point is, games has this certain charm that is painful to let go of. Sure, we know how fun it is to play games, but the psychologists over at the University of Rochester kicked it up a notch for us.

According to their latest study, the fun of playing games is actually rooted in fulfilling basic psychological needs.The study was done in collaboration with Immersyve, Inc., a virtual environment think tank. More than 1,000 players served as the population and the systems utilized in the study included various consoles and some MMORPGs. Study lead author Richard M. Ryan has this brief explanation:

We think there’s a deeper theory than the fun of playing. It’s our contention that the psychological ‘pull’ of games is largely due to their capacity to engender feelings of autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Some video games not only motivate further play but also can be experienced as enhancing psychological wellness at least short-term. Not all video games are created equal in their ability to satisfy basic psychological needs. But those that do may be the best at keeping players coming back.

The study was published in the university’s journal Motivation and Emotion. Other co-authors include graduate student Andrew Przybylski and President of Immersyve and Doctor of Psychology Scott Rigby. And so with that said, gamers unite! Go and fulfill your psychological needs!

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