Study finds video games increase heart rate

Written by Harry Butler

November 17, 2008 // 10:59 a.m.

Tags: #games #hate #sleep #study #video-games #violent-video-games

Research recently published by the Swedish Research Council (and reported by Science Daily via Wired) into the effects of violent video games on teens has found that playing violent games affected subject heart rate variability not only during gameplay (no surprise there) but also when they were sleeping that night.

A group of boys aged between 12 and 15 were asked to play two different games in the evening, one focused on violence, while the other had no violent features. Heart rates were monitored both throughout the gameplay, then during the rest evening and finally while they slept.

The research, carried out by researchers at a number of Swedish universities, seems to show that effects of gaming don’t just stop when you switch your system off, but have a continued physiological effect without you even being aware of it, although none of the test subjects reported grabbing a few headshots before bed had resulted in a bad night's sleep.

Anyone who’s been playing Left 4 Dead recently will know all about how a violent game can get your heart pumping, but we have to wonder if this study isn’t a little flawed; violent video games usually tend to be more exciting and involving than their more peaceful counterparts, and so are bound to see heart rate rise – it’s the difference between watching a documentary on mould and the last lap of the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Have you ever lost a night’s sleep after a particularly intense gaming session? What games in particular get your heart beating faster and give you the shakes? Let us know in the forums!

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