Effects of Wii Tennis Game Play on Pain Threshold and Tolerance During a Cold Pressor Task

Raudenbush, Bryan; Kolks, Jonathan; McCombs, Kristin; Hamilton-Cotter, Alexandra
December 2011
North American Journal of Psychology;2011, Vol. 13 Issue 3, p491
Academic Journal
Previous research has shown psychological and physical benefits can be gained by playing video games, such as a distraction from pain and maladaptive behaviors, and can facilitate social engagement. The current study examines whether the Nintendo Wii tennis video game can serve as a distraction from pain perception and increase tolerance. Participants completed each of two conditions: a session in which Wii Tennis was played while immersing their non-dominant hand in a cold pressor tank and a session in which no game was played while the non-dominant hand was placed in the cold pressor. Participants were able to tolerate the pain significantly longer in the play condition and rated their pain as less severe. Participants reported the play condition as more physically and mentally demanding; however, they also rated their performance in that condition higher. Implications for such research include providing an alternative or adjunct to pharmaceuticals for pain management.


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