Violent video games help you cope up with pain
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Playing violent video games could be a good way to cope with pain as it increases your tolerance by up to 65 per cent, a new study has found.
Researchers at Keele University found that 40 volunteers were able to stomach pain for 65 per cent longer after playing violent 'first person shooter' games, in which a player kills enemies in a virtual environment, than those who had played a non-violent golf game.
The study, which explored the use of violent video games as a pain-reliever, demonstrates the impact the virtual world can have on pain perception.
In the study, participants played both the violent and non-violent game on separate occasions for 10 minutes and then placed one of their hands in ice-cold water to test their reaction to pain.
On average, participants kept their hands in the icy water for 65 per cent longer after playing the violent game, indicating that playing the game increased the participants' pain tolerance. Heart rate was also shown to increase.
The researchers suggest the increased pain tolerance and heart rate can be attributed to the body's natural 'fight or flight' response to stress, which can activate descending pain inhibitory pathways in the brain reducing sensitivity to pain.
The study was prompted following research by the same team showing that swearing increases people's tolerance for pain.
"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," Dr Richard Stephens, who led the study, said.
"This latest study was a test of that assumption in which we set out to try and raise participants' aggression levels by having them play a violent video game," said Stephens in a statement.
"We then tested the effect on pain tolerance. The results confirm our predictions that playing the video game increased both feelings of aggression and pain tolerance," he said.
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