For some time, research has shown the usefulness of games in reducing anxiety in stressed people. One of the most interesting leaps in this field came from the Hunter’s College Department of Psychology, in New York.
The story begins with a game app inspired by a new cognitive treatment for anxiety, called “attention bias modification training” or ABMT. In this app, people with severe anxiety need to follow two characters on a screen and trace the path for them as quickly and accurately as possible. After 25-45 minutes came the results: less apprehension and insecurity in patients.
Impact on daily life
“Even a small amount of time playing the application – about 25 minutes – had a powerful effect on anxiety and stress levels measured in the laboratory”explained leading researcher Tracy Dennis, adding “This is great news in terms of the potential to be able to translate these technologies into a mobile application format, because the use of these applications tend to be brief and moving”. In other words, games in this genre would be very beneficial to players who are susceptible to stress in daily life.
Now, the idea is to find out whether even shorter intervals between starts, as is the case in many popular smartphone games, could have the same effect. If the answer is “yes”, game based psychological interventions could revolutionize how we deal with stress disorders, depression and anxiety. The way to developing accessible and engaging games as a tool to promote mental well-being is open.
One way or another, games are fun, and this news certainly makes them look even more interesting and enticing! Did you already have your daily dose of fun? Remember: A game a day, keeps the doctor away! ;-)