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Video Game Developed to Reduce Rage

Category: Science & Technology
Posted: 06:16PM

For some people, watching videos of people raging can be entertaining as the potentially violent outburst comes with property damage and a myriad of swears. For those who actually have anger issues or know someone that does, it is not funny. There are different techniques to help with combat this problem, from psychotherapy to medication, and perhaps soon, video games. Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital have successfully decreased the anger of adolescents with anger problems by having them play a game they developed.

Called RAGE Control the game gives the player control of a spaceship and challenges them to shoot enemy ships, without hitting friendlies. To combat the player's anger issues, a monitor is connected to them that measures heart rate. If their heart rate goes too high, they can no longer shoot down enemy spaceships, so only be calming down may they continue playing. The 18 children they tested RAGE Control were tested after five 15 minute sessions and displayed significant decreases in anger intensity at one time, frequency of feeling angry, and their expression of anger towards others or objects. These same patients also rated this therapy experience very highly.

This experiment represents only a pilot study, which means there is still more to do. For example, the patients were not surveyed after the treatment ended, so whether this treatment has long term benefits is not yet known. Along with testing that though, the researchers are also planning on making the game co-op, so a child may play with their parent or even take it home to play with siblings and friends.

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