In a study published in Personality and Individual Differences, scientists have shown that the popular video game Pokémon Go could help people who are struggling socially by improving their social skills.
For long it has been believed that video games are generally preferred by those who are introverts, but that’s not the case with augmented reality games like Pokémon Go with the new study finding that extroverts tend to be better players. According to scientists at the University of British Columbia people with strong social skills tend to be more successful at the game unlike other games that require users to stay in front of a screen indoors.
Researchers recruited 101 Pokémon Go players between the ages of 18 and 28 to take part in the study. After completing questionnaires about their personality, social anxiety and social competence, participants played the game for 20 minutes.
Through observing players’ performance in the game, the researchers found that extroverted participants caught more Pokémon, visited more PokéStops and travelled greater distances than players who described themselves as socially introverted.
Researchers found that players who are socially anxious might be self-conscious and less likely to engage in the game because they may fear others are judging them. This could mean that they may hesitate to play when others are watching and are less likely to collaborate with fellow players, like pointing out nearby Pokémon or sharing tips.
The researchers are now looking at ways for modern video games to be designed in a way that helps people who struggle socially. For example, video games could be designed in a way in which social features become increasingly more involved as the game progresses.