Why do we play Games?

People play games in state of a boredom, when celebrating togetherness, to feel relaxed, have fun or just to spare time. But are these the only reasons why they play games? There has to be a reason why millions of people around the world spend hours of their day playing video games. Core factors which motivates us to play games are achievement, interest and competition. According to the Self Determination Theory, human behaviors are driven by the need for competence, autonomy, and relatedness. If those needs are met, we enjoy activities more. The flow of the game from easy to hard levels holds the mental focus and promotes competence and also the challenges in games hold ones interest. Autonomy is met because we have control in games and we voluntarily play games. Lastly, we are able to get connected with other people and compete with them in a virtual world that’s different from real life. 

Games designed with all these ingredients holds individual’s metal state and make them vulnerable to become game addicts.

What happens to our brain?

Have you ever noticed how a child or even an adult behaves when you ask them to stop playing a game, especially when they are completely involved in it? They become aggressive, irritated and violent, this is not because they are asked to stop playing the game it is because when they are involved in playing games different regions in their brain gets activated.

And when they suddenly have to stop playing the game the dopamine in their brain and the adrenaline in body begin to ebb, hence they tend to lose focus. Stress hormones also remain high, however, making it difficult for them to relax or think clearly. Gaming creates negative effects which are mostly related to the amount of play and the game content. But gaming with controlled use can also have positive effects on the brain.

Will talk about the positive and negative effects of gaming in our next article 

-Dr. Azra Fatima
Clinical Psychologist
Consultant @ Learn Maximum