Study shows people using the gaming app are happier and more friendly
Gamers don’t have the greatest reputations when it comes to being social, but Pokemon Go is changing that.
Turns out, people playing the app are happier, friendlier and more positive than people who aren’t trying to catch ‘em all, according to a new study.
Researchers from the University of Madison-Wisconsin surveyed about 400 people three weeks after Pokemon Go was released in July 2016 about their social and emotional lives, as well as how physically active they were. Then the scientists casually segued into whether the subjects were playing the augmented reality game, which encourages people to walk outside to catch the digital anime critters.
More than 40% of those questioned turned out to be Pokemon “trainers” plugged into the game, and those subjects were not only more likely to be exercising and walking briskly, but they were also more likely to be experiencing positive feelings – possibly from the exercise, which is a proven mood booster – as well as nostalgia, also not surprising considering many players grew up collecting Pokemon cards or watching the 90s cartoon.
“There’s this idea that playing games and being on your phone is a negative social experience that detracts from things,” said study author James Alex Bonus, a UW-Madison graduate student studying educational media. “But, for the most part, the Pokemon Go players said more about positive things that were making them feel their life was more worthwhile, more satisfactory, and making them more resilient.”
They were also more likely than people who weren’t playing to be more social, make new friends and deepen older friendships.
“The more people were playing, the more they were engaging in behaviors that reflected making new connections — making Facebook friends, introducing themselves to someone new, exchanging phone numbers with someone, or spending more time with old friends and learning new things about them,” said Bonus.
This comes on the heels of a study last month that found parents who play Pokemon Go with their kids benefit from getting more quality time and exercise together.
Game creator Niantic reports 65 million regular users are still playing the gaming app, which was downloaded more than 650 million times since last year.
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