Video Games Encourage Socialization, Says Study

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Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Video game enthusiasts may also be social butterflies. Despite the stereotype, many gamers are not the antisocial loners playing World of Warcraft while locked in their rooms that many believe. In fact, gaming actually makes players more social, says a new study.

Researchers from North Carolina State University, York University, and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology tracked gamers and surveyed them at more than 20 events in Canada and the United Kingdom over the course of the study. These events ranged from 20 people playing in a bar to gamers at Internet cafes to large events with more than 2,500 participants at a convention. The researchers focused on Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs.) In every scenario, they found that gaming enhanced the social activity and encouraged socialization between the players, rather than discouraging it.

“We found that gamers were often exhibiting many social behaviors at once: watching games, talking, drinking, and chatting online,” said Dr. Nick Taylor, an assistant professor of communication at North Carolina State University and lead author of a paper on the study. “Gaming didn’t eliminate social interaction, it supplemented it.”

While in the midst of games, the players also participated in a wide variety of social activities. (Other research also suggests that video games may improve an individual’s ability to multitask.) Whether it was drinking or chatting online, gamers kept involved in plenty of whatever side social activity available to them while participating in their games.

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