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People Who Play 'Pokémon GO' Are Likely To Be Friendly And Positive

13 April 2017, 9:20 am EDT By Anu Passary Tech Times
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A new study revealed that individuals playing augmented-reality mobile game ‘Pokémon GO’ are more happy and positive. The study looked into the psychological benefits of the game on people's frame of mind.  ( Tomohiro Ohsumi | Getty Images )

Still out there trying to "catch 'em all" in Pokémon GO? A new study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison suggests that one should continue their efforts to do so.

The researchers of the University shared that players who are hooked on to Pokémon GO are friendlier and happier in real life, vis-à-vis non-Pokémon GO players.

The study states that the Pokémon GO players are more social, physically active, and positive toward life, when compared to those who do not play the game.

Pokémon GO: The Study

The researchers examined the popular augmented reality video game to determine if Pokémon GO had any psychological benefits on the player's frame of mind. The AR video game, which launched in July 2016, received plenty of negative reactions during its early days.

"There was plenty of negative press about distracted people trespassing and running into trees or walking into the street," remarked James Alex Bonus, the lead author of the study.

However, despite the negative press, one could still espy people enjoying the game. Niantic Labs, the developer of Pokémon GO, claims that the game currently has 65 million users who play the title regularly.

With a large variety and group of study subjects, Bonus and Alanna Peebles, an undergraduate collaborator, decided to study the effects of the AR game on players.

To establish the effects of Pokémon GO on players, Bonus and his team conducted an online survey of roughly 400 adults aged between 18 years to 75 years.

As part of the survey, the study's participants were quizzed on their social and emotional lives, as well as the level of physical activity they indulged in before they started playing Pokémon GO. The study was conducted over three weeks.

Are Pokémon GO Players More Positive?

At the end of the survey, the researchers found that over 40 percent of the participants turned out to be Pokémon GO players. These people were also more likely to be engaging in some kind of physical activity, brisk walking at the very least. These participants, the researchers noted, were also more likely to experience nostalgia and positive emotions.

Bonus stated that many of the participants admitted that playing Pokémon GO helped them look at life more positively. It also made them feel happy and realize that life was more valuable and satisfactory than it appeared to be.

Pokémon GO players were also more gregarious when compared to non-players. The players were also more likely to make new friends when compared to non-players, as well as strengthen existing bonds.

"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," noted Bonus.

The study has been published in the Journal Media Psychology.

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