This new study shows that Pokémon Go doesn’t just make players willing to go outside – it also makes them as peppy as a Pikachu.
Media researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have found that people who play Pokémon Go are happier, friendlier, and more positive than those who don’t.
The team began by surveying 400 different people 3 weeks after the game’s release. After questioning the respondents on their emotional and social lives, as well as their levels of physical activity, the team then asked the participants whether they played Pokémon Go.
Over 40% of the participants who they spoke to played Pokémon – and they had all responded positively about their mood, social lives, and physical activity.
“People told us about a variety of experiences with differential relationships to well-being,” says 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.”
“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.”
“There was plenty of negative press about distracted people trespassing and running into trees or walking into the street. But you also saw people really enjoying it, having a good time together outside,” adds Bonus. “We don’t look at media this way that often, but maybe we should. We often focus on media violence and aggression and hostility, but there are opportunities where media is contributing to good life experiences.”
The positive emotional reactions to Pokémon Go aren’t the only perks to the game – hospitals have found that the video game often motivates younger patients to get out of bed, thus improving their moods. Comparatively, an animal shelter in Indiana enlisted Pokémon Go players to walk shelters dogs while hunting for the virtual creatures.
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