As some of you may know over the past few months I’ve put a few/coupla hours on World of Warcraft. And bought the Lord of the Rings board game. And attended RabbitCon. And bought an XBox. And Rock Band 2. But I don’t really consider myself a gamer. Because that’s just too queer.
But I did find this article on games and their impact on dreaming pretty interesting. It looks at a couple of recent studies that — for reasons I can’t really fathom — are examining the dreams of gamers.
“…the studies found that high-end gamers typically experience more lucid dreams where the subject was aware that they were dreaming and could control their activities. A two-part series of studies found that although gamers were more aggressive (based on interviews) than the average person in their dreams, they also experienced aggressive dreams overall less than the norm. This led to another study, whose data is still being analyzed, but Gackenbach hypothesizes that daytime video game play may serve as a rehearsal for threat function that dreams may serve. This is based on the theory that our nightmares are actually survival mechanisms in which we undergo traumatic events in our dreams to prepare for them in the real world. The surprising discovery during many of these long interviews was that the typical “Being Chased” and “Can’t Escape” scenario of many nightmares did not frighten gamers.”
I have to say, when I first started playing WoW, I could get really panicky. I would forget which buttons to hit, in my shock at what was happening to me. It really does have a physical, and no doubt psychological impact. Now, I’m much calmer when I play. You do just get used to the combat, though, I have to admit, I haven’t been in anything truly overwhelming in a long time, mostly because I stopped playing and can never seem to get a raid party together at my level. I hear that’s where the real action starts happening.
And I’m not sure about the effects of gaming on my dreams, but the first night I played (hours of) Rock Band, I had those damn colored notes coming at me in my sleep all night long. Well, there ARE all those dwarf dreams… but that’s a different story …
I’m interested in this idea that gamers are less easy to frighten, at least in dreams. I’d like to think I’m getting SOMETHING out of this whole thing, other than the endless the mockery of all my friends and family.
Oh, and if you want to participate in the study, go here.
Thanks to Twitterers @E_Munnie and @LBJeffries