How Violent Video Games Can Be Good for You

Study suggests they can boost your pain tolerance
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 7, 2012 1:20 PM CDT
In this undated video game image released by Activision, a scene from "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2" is shown.   (AP Photo/Activision, File)

(Newser) – Next time you think you're going to take a bullet in real life, do yourself a favor and take some on your X-Box first. A new study suggests that playing violent first-person shooters actually increases your pain tolerance, the Daily Mail reports. Researchers at Keele University had 40 subjects play video games—some violent, others not—and then see how long they could keep their hands in icy water.

Those who'd played violent games managed to hold out 65% longer. Researchers believe that's because the games triggered their "fight or flight" response, cueing their brains to reduce their pain sensitivity. The study builds on earlier work from the team that showed that swearing increases pain tolerance, too. "We assumed that swearing eases pain by sparking an emotional reaction in participants—most likely to be aggression—in turn setting off the body's fight or flight response," the lead researcher says. This time, researchers relied on video games to boost aggression instead.

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