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Research Suggests Violent Video Games Increase Pain Tolerance

Science has now provided yet another reason to play horrendously violent video games like Gears of War. Research released today by Keele University shows that those kind of games could potentially be used to relieve pain. In the same release, the university also confirmed that golf games don’t produce the same effect, which is not surprising given that golf can sometimes be a source of pain in and of itself.

The study had 40 volunteers playing video games and then dunking one of their hands in ice-cold water to gauge their reaction to pain from intense cold. After 10 minutes of gameplay, they found that participants kept their hands in the water 65% longer on average if they had been playing the violent game than those that had been playing a nonviolent golf game. This indicates that the participants’ pain tolerance was increased by the violent gaming.

The researchers suggest that it’s the fight-or-flight response to stress that’s to blame for this increased tolerance, as well as the faster heart rate measured by those playing violet games. Essentially, our brains respond to the virtual blood frenzy in much the same way as they would to an actual blood frenzy.

The whole reason this study was attempted stems back to a study that the university did on swearing and pain tolerance. They thought that the emotional response invoked by swearing eased pain. So, naturally, they decided to see if violent video games could cause the same reaction. Maybe next they’ll see if Internet trolls do the same.

(via Keele University)

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