"Playing a game does not make you happy if you lose. A game does alert and activate you though," said Dr Thornton.
The stress hormone, cortisol, also shot up in the group of 16 men, doubling that of an average person. In a control group where they sat passively watching a video of a game, they fell.
Based on this, the researchers have hypothesised so far that the psycho-physiological impacts are similar to physical sports.
"It is much like playing football or rugby. If you lose, you feel rubbish but still elated."
Good. Science can now tell us that playing games feels like playing games.
Don't get me wrong, I am delighted that there is a wider range of research done on computer games, particularly studies how the player experiences and the players' relationship to the game. And while this is done with the intent to develop better games, it is done within the traditions and the culture of established academic research.
Dr Jeremy Thornton, Department of Computer Science, University of Hull, is one of the two working to develop a model for measuring player reactions to games, and he presented the results on the Game Developers Conference Europe. From their site:
Jeremy Thornton has an MB ChB. He is a Family Practitioner taking his PhD in Computer Science part time at the University of Hull. His main area of research is the psycho-physiological impact of video games and using the results to design and predict hit games of the future.
He is working with Jon Purdy:
Jon Purdy has a PhD in Applied Physics. He is now a lecturer at Hull University in the Department of Computer Science where he developed the curriculum for, and teaches on, the advanced MSc in Games Programming. Jon is an active researcher publishing papers in medical signal processing and visualization.
I would have loved a link to the content of presentation, which was held on Academic Day. Gonzalo was there though, perhaps he knows something?