A GamerGirl & GamerGuy Mental Health Story

Tritons indicated playing more online videogames this year than in the past, and fewer single player games.

Online videogames (e.g., MMORPGs & MMOs) were clearly favored over single-player games among UCSD Tritons during COVID quarantine, as they indicated playing more online games this year than in the past. This is consistent with global gaming data indicating that social distancing led to a 40% increase in online gaming, helped by the World Health Organization’s gamer initiative #PlayTogetherApart.

WHO Videogame Initiative: Play Apart Together

Videogames are Protective Against COVID in Disincentivizing Leaving the House (or Couch). Playing video games can satisfy basic psychological needs & yield short-term improvements in well-being (Allen & Anderson, 2018; Ryan et al., 2006). This may be particularly helpful in curbing depression/anxiety during Social Distancing. (Data: #UCSD)

The social nature of online games helps to reduce feelings of isolation, social disconnection, and loneliness during quarantine in a way that’s not true for single player games.


Sidenotes (per usual)

Nearly half (45%) of adults across the country say that worry and stress related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic are hurting their mental health, an early sign that the health and economic crises is likely to increase mental health problems and further stretch the system’s capacity.



Infidelity & The #Womannequin: Getting Something Out of It

In a study on sexual infidelity, we found that straight men had greater sexual infidelity concerns related to their STRAIGHT girlfriends’ lesbian friends than gay male or straight female friends.

Even though his girlfriend is straight, if she has a sleepover with a lesbian friend he may perceive the lesbian friend as extracting something ‘relational’ out of it in a manner that wouldn’t be true for gay men or straight women. Basically, even though the threat of a lesbian forming a romantic and/or sexual relationship with his straight girlfriend is logistically impossible, he may perceive the lesbian friend as getting something out of it.

It’s similar to why some male bystanders won’t attempt to do CPR on women: they don’t want to be perceived as sexually assaulting her (Kramer et al., 2015). It’s the reason some studies on CPR only recruit female nurses

“because administering CPR to women has been found to be a potential barrier pertinent to men” (Dobbie et al., 2020, p. 3).

Consider, for instance, that when giving CPR to someone at home (someone the person knows; not in public), 35% of women and 36% of men received CPR (Blewer et al., 2018).

Thus, a study of 19,331 cardiac arrest events found that only 39% of the women received #CPR from strangers in public compared to 45% of the men.

In addition, men’s odds of surviving were 23% higher than those of women given that each minute that help is delayed lowers someone’s chance to survive by 10%.

(More on this in a near-future post: 19 Reasons Why)

Nostalgia Can Improve Memory for Advertisements

Ads that induce a sense of nostalgia enjoy greater brand memory/ recall among potential consumers (Yuce et al., 2019)… which is ironic given that nostalgia — as an adaptation — involves a failure of memory (Abeyta et al., 2020; Bocincova et al., 2019; Hepper et al., 2012, 2020; May, 2019).

The imperfect “rose tinted” memories associated with nostalgia are part of its utility, as research finds that “nostalgia is a resource that supports socioemotional selectivity and promotes successful aging” (Hepper et al., 2020). Indeed, nostalgia is considered “to act as a ‘defence mechanism’ in the face of change because it can help ‘maintain a stable identity by providing continuity’, thus offering protection ‘against the feeling that time passes quickly” (May, 2017).

Thus, despite health senescence with increasing age (aging is injury), including declines in “physical health and social activity”, elderly humans “are generally successful at maintaining wellbeing (Charles & Carstensen, 2007), as subjective and psychological wellbeing levels remain stable or rise with age (Diener, Suh, Lucas, & Smith, 1999; Ryff, 1989). Nostalgia has regulatory properties. Individuals spontaneously turn to personal nostalgia for comfort and strength in the face of psychological threats, and inducing it confers psychological benefits (Routledge et al., 2013; Sedikides et al., 2015a; Sedikides & Wildschut, 2019a,b). For example, experimental and cross-sectional studies show that individuals recruit and experience nostalgia in times of loneliness, discontinuity, and existential doubt (Routledge et al., 2011; Sedikides et al., 2015b; Zhou, Sedikides, Wildschut, & Gao, 2008).

Nostalgia then repairs and enhances social connectedness, self-regard, and meaning in life (Routledge et al., 2011; Vess, Arndt, Routledge, Sedikides, & Wildschut, 2012; Zhou et al., 2008; see Ismail, Cheston, Christopher, & Meyrick, 2018, for a metaanalytic review).

Effects of nostalgia are often stronger in conditions of threat, highlighting its homeostatic function (Routledge et al., 2008; Sedikides & Wildschut, 2018; Van Dijke, Leunissen, Wildschut, & Sedikides, 2019; Wildschut, Sedikides, & Cordaro, 2011)” (Hepper et al., 2020).

I'm passionate about making a tangible difference in the lives of others, & that's something I have the opportunity to do a professor & researcher.