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Surprising Videogame Benefits

Video games have been linked to violence, poor school performance, behavioral problems and addictive behaviors. But recently there have been studies to use videogames to improve mental health. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a standard form of psychotherapy to treat mild to moderate depression. In CBT, patients are taught to change their negative thoughts and behaviors by changing the way they react to behaviors. A new videogame called SPARX (Smart, Positive, Active, Realistic, X-factor thoughts) is a game that a player navigates through different fantasy worlds. In one level, the player is attacked by blobs of GNATs(Gloomy Negative Automatic Thoughts), the player must shoot these blobs and put them into barrels by the type of negative thought. This process helps the patient identify these types of thoughts that creep into their own daily lives. At the end of the study, one-third of the patients experienced a reduction in anxiety and depression. More patients achieved remission from depression than routine treatment. This video game may help patient who may otherwise not receive treatment for depression due to lack of insurance or access to care.

Other benefits have shown that videogame players make decisions 25% faster without losing accuracy. In addition, they are able to multi-task up to six tasks while most people can multi-task up to four tasks.