Paper Cites Beneficial Effects of Playing Video Games

The authors of a paper published in the journal Human Factors -- human factors/ergonomics researchers -- evaluated whether casual video game play is an effective way to combat workplace stress during breaks.

People who feel stressed during their work day could benefit from playing video games, the authors of a paper recently published in the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society's journal Human Factors concluded.

More than half of Americans report they experience cognitive fatigue related to stress, frustration, and anxiety while at work. People who work in safety-critical fields, such as air traffic control and health care, are at greater risk for cognitive fatigue, which can lead to errors. The authors of the paper -- human factors/ergonomics researchers -- evaluated whether casual video game play is an effective way to combat workplace stress during breaks.

In their article, "Searching for Affective and Cognitive Restoration: Examining the Restorative Effects of Casual Video Game Play," Michael Rupp and co-authors used a computer-based task to induce cognitive fatigue in 66 participants, who were then given a five-minute rest break to played a video game, participate in a guided relaxation activity, or sit quietly in the testing room without using a phone or computer. They measured participants' stress level and cognitive performance.

Those who took a silent rest break reported that they felt less engaged with work, which worried them, and those who participated in the guided relaxation activity had lower negative affect and distress. But only those who played the video game reported they felt better after taking the break, according to HFES.

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