Researchers at a Canadian University have found that playing a social intelligence video game called ‘Matrix’ could just help to reduce stress.
‘Matrix’ was designed by researchers at McGill University in Montreal. Findings have revealed that the game helped people shift the way they processed social information.
The researchers also conducted a number of other studies and found that the game also reduced the stress hormone ‘cortisol’ by 17%.
According to McGill psychology professor Mark Baldwin, “We already knew that it was possible to design games to allow people to practice new forms of social perception, but we were surprised by the impact this had when we took the games out of the lab and into the context of peoples’ stressful lives.”
In on the more recent studies, the researchers recruited 23 employees of a Montreal-based call centre to play on of the their games, which involves clicking on the one smiling face among many frowning faces on a screen as quickly as possible.
It has been deduced that through repetitive playing, the game trains the mind to look towards the more positive aspects of social life.
The Canadian call centre employees did this for a week and even filled out daily stress and self-esteem questionnaires. Moreover, they also had their cortisol levels tested through saliva analysis on the final day of the experiment.
The tests showed an average 17% reduction in cortisol production compared to a control group that played a similar game but without the smiling faces.
“There are many possible applications for this kind of game from helping people cope with the social anxiety of public speaking or meeting new people, to helping athletes concentrate more on their game rather than worrying about performing poorly,” added Balwin.