Illustration for article titled Video Game Experiment Teaches Angry Kids Not to Rage Against the Machine

There's a new insane study of children and video games out there, and it makes me grateful the Wii died without that ridiculous Vitality Sensor ever coming to market.


Let's say you're playing a video game, a space shooter (can't tell if this is top-down or side-scrolling). Your job is to shoot down enemy spacecraft and avoid friendlies. However, if your heart rate becomes too fast (signaling aggression), your ability to shoot is disabled.

What would you do then? What would I do? WHAT THE HELL? STUPID FIRE BUTTON GODDAMMIT WORK YOU BASTARD and then there's a broken window and a controller on the lawn outside.


But that's the structure of a study at Boston Children's Hospital, designed to teach kids to deliberately calm their emotions. In the case of RAGE Control (the game's name), you can't reacquire the means of shooting until your pulse drops below a certain threshold, I guess by listening to Al Jarreau or something. But hand it to these guys, they've managed to create a system that mandates being cool under fire.

This study examined kids between the ages of 9 and 17 years old who were undergoing inpatient treatment at the hospital's psychiatry service, diagnosed with "extremely high levels of anger." So those are some pissed off kids. One group got the standard anger-management therapy, a second got the therapy plus the video game. Those who played the video game did better and said it helped more.

Researchers Use Video Game to Help Children Control Anger [Game Politics]

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