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8 Reasons Video Games Might Just Be Better for You Than Books

Thursday, September 8th 2016. | Tips and Tricks

Haters may dismiss video games as an “escape” from the challenges of real life but, for many gamers, a more accurate word might be “relief.” In one experiment at the University of Washington Harborview Burn Center, patients undergoing treatment for severe burns were given virtual reality headsets to play a game called Snow World, allowing them to explore an immersive 3-D landscape of hidden ice caves, jolly snowmen, and a pleasant dusting of snowflakes even as caregivers provided painful wound treatments. Patients who played Snow World reported being able to ignore their pain a whopping 92 percent of the time, while those who didn’t typically spent 100 percent of treatment thinking about their own suffering. What’s more, Snow World patients felt an average of 30 to 50 percent total pain reduction, providing an even greater relief than morphine. Why does this work? Scientists point to the “spotlight theory of attention,” suggesting that our brains work like a spotlight able to focus on a limited amount of information at a time. When our cognitive resources are focused on a mentally-demanding game (say, Candy Crush or Temple Run on your phone), we have less attention to give external stimuli like smells, sounds, and even pain. Here are 7 things you do that make pain feel worse.

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