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Study Finds Gamers Can Be Normal People, Have Friends

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Posted on January 2, 2013 AT 02:19pm

It’s a trend that has cropped up again due to recent events: the branding of those who love and play videogames as anti-social loners. Well, it just so happens that a recent study has shown that gamers can be normal, socially healthy human beings!

Well, maybe it’s shown that.

As part of a study titled “Behavioral and Psychological Involvement of Online Video Gamers: Building Blocks or Building Walls to Socialization”, two professors at Penn State surveyed 166 people who were waiting in line at a midnight launch for Call of Duty: Black Ops. The questions on that survey were intended to look into how much importance those gamers put on their hobby of electronic entertainment, and how active they also were in other areas of life.

The conclusion?

“Behavioral markers of video game participation may be useful for describing how gamers participate, but may do less to explain benefits or consequences. Especially in the social context, gamers may psychologically shape their gaming experience around relationships resulting in greater friend-based social support as well as other potentially healthy social outcomes. This indicates that not all video game play is socially isolating.”

Well—that’s good, right? Just because you play video games doesn’t mean that you isolate yourself from the world, and games can help shape and enrich friendships.

Ah, but there’s also a potential downside!

“Conversely, an individual who centers most of his or her resources and daily schedule on video gaming could face a wide range of negative outcomes including decreased levels of friend-based social support.”

So, basically, this study found that people who play video games can be normal, socially-active people, but if one spends too much time playing video games and not enough time interacting with other human beings in meaningful ways, it can negatively affect their lives.

In other words, what I already knew.

Eric L. Patterson, Executive Editor
Eric L. Patterson got his start via self-publishing game-related fanzines in junior high, and now has one goal in life: making sure EGM has as much coverage of niche Japanese games as he can convince them to fit in. Eric’s also active in the gaming community on a personal level, being an outspoken voice on topics such as equality in gaming and consumer rights. Stalk him on Twitter: @pikoeri. Meet the rest of the crew.

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