Pokemon Go may help people who struggle socially, according to a study which found that the popular augmented reality game has a lot of social aspects and requires players to have good social competence.
Researchers from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Canada recruited 101 Pokemon Go players between the ages of 18 and 28 to take part in the study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.
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 Pokemon, visited more PokeStops and travelled greater distances than players who described themselves as socially introverted.
The researchers are now looking at ways for modern video games to be designed in a way that helps people who struggle socially. “In the beginning, players might only need to communicate with a person through text, but as the game reaches a higher level, they may have to actually be physically close to other players to collaborate and win,” said Adri Khalis from UBC.
“The game provides a context in which interacting with others might be easier than walking up to a stranger and striking up a conversation from the get-go,” Khalis said.
As modern video games become more popular, it’s important to understand how individual personality traits influence behaviour, said Amori Mikami from UBC.
“Being socially confident not only helps us succeed in face-to-face, ‘real world’ activities but it also seems to apply to video games,” said Mikami.