Video Game Play as Nightmare Protection: A Preliminary Inquiry with Military Gamers<br />Jayne Gackenbach*, Evelyn Ellerma...
Why are dreams important?<br />Rich history across most cultures<br />Royal road to the unconscious – Freud<br />While ope...
Dreams are Brain at Work While “Off-line”<br />Like a computer which is not in use thus no input (i.e., keyboard, scan, et...
Why are dreams important?<br />Function of dreams increasingly clear<br />Evolutionary threat/play (Revonsuo; Humphrey)<br...
Why study gamers dreams?<br />Media saturated society<br />Video game play represents the most immersive and interactive m...
Gamer Generally Defined in Research Program<br />Play video games on average several times a week<br />Typical playing ses...
Dream Dimensions: Gamers show<br />More Lucid and Control Dreams<br />More Bizarrenessand Creativity<br />Less Nightmares(...
Dreams of Gamers in the Military<br />377 individuals entered the survey <br />First set of questions were screening: (Yes...
Demographics (98 got through screening)<br />92% male<br />Average age 32 years<br />80% some post secondary education<br ...
Video Game Group Definition Based on Frequency of Play (High=daily/weekly; Low=monthly/yearly/rarely)<br />* all significa...
Current Favorite Game Genre<br />67%<br />96%<br />
Just Played a Video Game Prior to Filling Out the Survey<br />Games Playing Second Most:<br />The Arena                   ...
Soldiers Comment About Games Played while Deployed<br />comment on an article he had read about our research:<br />I would...
Combat Centric Titles Preferred<br />Indeed in a media story about gaming on the frontlines, <br />“combat centric titles”...
Other Gamer Group Differences<br />86%<br />59%<br />58%<br />86%<br />
Military Deployment/Combat<br />There were no gamer group differences in<br />Were you, or are you, deployed while serving...
Review and Theoretical Conceptualization of the Nightmare Literature<br />Levin and Nielsen (2007; 2009) point out in thei...
To determine if gaming effects nightmares have to control for affect load and distress<br />Covariates for those that repo...
Three Dream Content Analysis<br />Threat Simulation (Revonsuo & Valli, 2000)<br />War Content (Wilmer, 1996)<br />Lucid/Co...
Statistical Analysis<br />Gamer Group (high/low) x Dream Type (recent/military) ANCOVA’s with 5 emotionality (ERNS) subsca...
Nature of Threat (1= no harm, 2= nonagg harm, 3= agg harm)<br />Same interaction for Severity of Threat <br />(1=none, 2=t...
high threat, military dream, low gamer<br />I couldn't find my rifle and something was chasing me. I searched the entire f...
high threat, military dream, high gamer<br />i was told by my old Sargent to load up on the humvv in my gunners spot. he s...
No<br />In reaction to threat, does self participate?<br />Military Dream<br />Recent Dream<br />yes<br />High<br />Low<br />
Wilmer’s War Content<br />describes the dreams of [316] Vietnam veterans about war<br />Categories<br />Actual war dreams<...
Sum of all Coding War Motifs <br />Military Dream<br />Recent Dream<br />High<br />Low<br />
High War Content; Military Dream, Low Gamer<br />I was in a near a huge concrete bunker (like one I had seen in Iraq) and ...
Types of Nightmares<br />“Actual” catastrophic dreams: Characteristically these are terrifying vivid nightmares of the act...
Category x dream type and x gamer group<br />Wilmer: With therapy nightmare dream types moved from Actual to Ordinary<br />
Clinical Implication of Dream Type<br />Along with Hartmann (1984), Wilmer holds that movement away from a literal replay ...
Plausible, Low Gamer, Military Dream<br />My military dream occurs when im on deployment.  i am securing an airport trying...
Impactful Dreams Questionnaire(IDQ)<br />SELF REPORT Ratings of Military Dreams<br />spreading warmth (High>Low)<br />move...
But then there is this……<br />My name is ……, 30 army vet who has served in Iraq, I’m an avid gamer, meditate heavily and h...
Take Away Points<br />Gaming may act as an inoculation against some of the negative experiences of nightmares<br />This co...
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video game play as nightmare protection

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This looks at gaming in the military as possible protection against nightmares.

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  • Gackenbach, J.I., Kuruvilla, B., Dopko, R. &amp; Le, H. (2010). Chapter 5: Dreams and video game play. In Soria, A. &amp; Maldonado, J. (Eds.), Computer games: Learning objectives, cognitive performance and effects on development, Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers, p. 127-136.Gackenbach, J.I. (in press). Video game play and dreams. In Barrett, D. &amp; McNamara, P. (eds.) Encyclopedia of Sleep and Dreams. Santa Barbara, CA:ABC-CLIO.
  • Revonsuo, A., &amp; Valli, K. (2000). Dreaming and Consciousness: Testing the threat stimulationtheory of the function of dreaming. Psyche, 6, 1-25.Wilmer, Harry A (1996). The healing nightmare: War dreams of Vietnam veterans. Barrett, Deirdre (Ed), Trauma and dreams. (pp. 85-99). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Gackenbach, J.I., Matty, I., Kuruvilla, B., Samaha, A. N., Zederayko, A., Olischefski, J. &amp; Von Stackelberg, H. (2009). Video game play: Waking and dreaming consciousness. S. Krippner (Ed.), Perchance To Dream, Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers, p. 239-253.
  • video game play as nightmare protection

    1. 1. Video Game Play as Nightmare Protection: A Preliminary Inquiry with Military Gamers<br />Jayne Gackenbach*, Evelyn Ellerman, & Christie Hall, <br />*Grant MacEwan University & Athabasca University<br />Paper presented at the 2011 Games for Health Meeting<br />We’d like to extend our appreciation to Kris La Marca, John Bown, Katherine Wisniewski, and Mary-Lynn Ferguson for their help with this project. <br />
    2. 2. Why are dreams important?<br />Rich history across most cultures<br />Royal road to the unconscious – Freud<br />While opened up dreams as important, he also pathologized them<br />With discovery of REM sleep and the sleep laboratory, dreams entered science<br />While not local only to REM, those that are most recalled and most often puzzled about are typically REM dreams<br />
    3. 3. Dreams are Brain at Work While “Off-line”<br />Like a computer which is not in use thus no input (i.e., keyboard, scan, etc) yet CPU still at work<br />During sleep the brain is off line, no sensory input, but lots of processing of information ongoing<br />
    4. 4. Why are dreams important?<br />Function of dreams increasingly clear<br />Evolutionary threat/play (Revonsuo; Humphrey)<br />Emotional Regulation, especially negative emotions (Kramer; Nielsen; Zadra)<br />Memory integration & consolidation (Stickgold)<br />Problem-solving, creative inspiration (Barrett)<br />Metacognition (LaBerge; Kahan; Kahn)<br />All this serves personal and interpersonal needs if shared and processed but need not be as dreams still do their ‘job’<br />
    5. 5. Why study gamers dreams?<br />Media saturated society<br />Video game play represents the most immersive and interactive media experience<br />Isn’t it all just incorporation?<br />Yes gamers dream about games<br />And no,<br />Gamers dreams may show fundamental structural differences in their dreams <br />
    6. 6. Gamer Generally Defined in Research Program<br />Play video games on average several times a week<br />Typical playing session more than 1 or 2 hours<br />Played 50 or more video games over your lifetime<br />Been playing video games since early grade school<br />Type of Game Preferred only considered in latest studies, seemed to make no difference 5 years ago – recent study published in Mindfulness found an association between 1st person shooter game preference and mindfulness<br />
    7. 7. Dream Dimensions: Gamers show<br />More Lucid and Control Dreams<br />More Bizarrenessand Creativity<br />Less Nightmares(Threat Simulation)<br />
    8. 8. Dreams of Gamers in the Military<br />377 individuals entered the survey <br />First set of questions were screening: (Yes)<br />Play video games <br />In the military (1/3 lost)<br />18 years or older<br />High School education<br />ReplyNo to these questions (in last 6 months):<br />been diagnosed with a mental disorder<br />tried to commit suicide<br />perform risky behaviorswithout particular concern for your mortality<br />addicted to alcohol or drugs<br />
    9. 9. Demographics (98 got through screening)<br />92% male<br />Average age 32 years<br />80% some post secondary education<br />53% single<br />75% Caucasian<br />59% US military<br />76% enlisted<br />70% on active duty<br />60% Army<br />64% had been deployed<br />
    10. 10. Video Game Group Definition Based on Frequency of Play (High=daily/weekly; Low=monthly/yearly/rarely)<br />* all significantly different – all in healthy use range based on Surgeon Generals Report on gaming in the military<br />
    11. 11. Current Favorite Game Genre<br />67%<br />96%<br />
    12. 12. Just Played a Video Game Prior to Filling Out the Survey<br />Games Playing Second Most:<br />The Arena <br />Starfleet Commander <br />Star Trek Online <br />Red Dead Redemtion<br />NCAA Football 2011 <br />marvel ultimate alliance 2 <br />Mafia Wars <br />Ink Ball <br />Halo 3 <br />fear 2 <br />Combat Arms <br />Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2<br />Battlefield Bad Company 2 <br />Baseball 2k10 <br />Arma2 OA <br />All points bulletin <br />Age of Conan <br />ACE2 Modern Warfare Mod <br />=<br />Games Playing Most:<br />World Of Warcraft<br />tourchlight<br />Red Dead Redemption <br />Prototype <br />Perpetuum<br />Modern Warfare 2 <br />mass effect <br />Madden 2011 <br />Across genre 67% of games were of war/battle type<br />
    13. 13. Soldiers Comment About Games Played while Deployed<br />comment on an article he had read about our research:<br />I would see many Soldiers, in combat, with PSPs or anything we could hook up to 220v electricity. When Soldiers weren't on patrol, we often had violent war games on our systems. It was weird. Like we didn't get enough violence. <br />
    14. 14. Combat Centric Titles Preferred<br />Indeed in a media story about gaming on the frontlines, <br />“combat centric titles” might be associated with wanting to be in the military<br />“The average military member will never actually live out that exciting, epic firefight, the moment of a decisive battle, the heat of combat, or the thrill of knowing you just outwitted your mortal enemy and crushed them beneath your strategic might and skill, so gaming definitely offers a way of living out that fantasy. Call it a strange form of escapism?” (Ashcraft, 2011). <br />
    15. 15. Other Gamer Group Differences<br />86%<br />59%<br />58%<br />86%<br />
    16. 16. Military Deployment/Combat<br />There were no gamer group differences in<br />Were you, or are you, deployed while serving in the military?<br />Any combat experience<br />Witnessed others being wounded or killed<br />Discharged a weapon<br />Felt in great danger of being wounded<br />Was wounded<br />Felt in great danger of being killed<br />
    17. 17. Review and Theoretical Conceptualization of the Nightmare Literature<br />Levin and Nielsen (2007; 2009) point out in their model that nightmares occur due to:<br />affect load, that is situational events like interpersonal conflict, trauma, etc. (both long term and recent)<br />affect distress, dispositional traits which may be genetic or due to life history like attachments issues or unresolved trauma<br />interact to result in the experience of a nightmare. <br />
    18. 18. To determine if gaming effects nightmares have to control for affect load and distress<br />Covariates for those that reported dreams<br />Affect Distress: Emotional Reactivity and Numbing Scale (ERNS) (Gamer group differences)<br />5 subscale scores (positive, sad*, general, anger*, fear*) <br />* low gamers were higher on these scales than high gamers<br />Affect Load (no Gamer group differences)<br />Sum of Traumas from lifetime (averaged 2 to 3 out of 9)<br />Sum of combat experiences (averaged 2 yes’s out of the 6) <br />Deployment (1 ½ deployments across life span)<br />
    19. 19. Three Dream Content Analysis<br />Threat Simulation (Revonsuo & Valli, 2000)<br />War Content (Wilmer, 1996)<br />Lucid/Control Content (Gackenbach, et al., 2009)<br />
    20. 20. Statistical Analysis<br />Gamer Group (high/low) x Dream Type (recent/military) ANCOVA’s with 5 emotionality (ERNS) subscales and 3 trauma experience covariates on:<br />Threat Simulation Scales<br />War dream content Subscales<br />
    21. 21. Nature of Threat (1= no harm, 2= nonagg harm, 3= agg harm)<br />Same interaction for Severity of Threat <br />(1=none, 2=trivial, 3=social/psychological, 4=life threatening)<br />Military Dream<br />Recent Dream<br />High<br />Low<br />
    22. 22. high threat, military dream, low gamer<br />I couldn't find my rifle and something was chasing me. I searched the entire forest until I did find my weapon. As i turned around to shoot what was hunting me - the trigger felt like it was a 1,000 lbs trigger pull. The rounds I was shooting were delayed and where not hitting where I was aiming. (Subject #21)<br />
    23. 23. high threat, military dream, high gamer<br />i was told by my old Sargent to load up on the humvv in my gunners spot. he said we were going to roll out to fight some were in Baghdad. we drove down to the combat area where there was a brutal fight me and quite a few men against the insergants. i remember shooting and seeing men fall on both sides. i saw the faces of the dead eyes wide and staring at the sky soulless faces of friends. i walked dazed back to the humvv and woke up subject #115<br />
    24. 24. No<br />In reaction to threat, does self participate?<br />Military Dream<br />Recent Dream<br />yes<br />High<br />Low<br />
    25. 25. Wilmer’s War Content<br />describes the dreams of [316] Vietnam veterans about war<br />Categories<br />Actual war dreams<br />Plausible war dreams<br />Ordinary Nightmares<br />Coding Motif’s <br />Under attack, War/battle, The dead, Firefights, Killing women and children*, Killing enemy, Killing Buddies, Captured, Somewhere in war/battle, Being wounded, Chase and running, Home, Being killed, Animals, Decapitation, Looming danger, Shot down, Atrocities/ mutilation, Return to war/battle <br />
    26. 26. Sum of all Coding War Motifs <br />Military Dream<br />Recent Dream<br />High<br />Low<br />
    27. 27. High War Content; Military Dream, Low Gamer<br />I was in a near a huge concrete bunker (like one I had seen in Iraq) and someone began firing a rifle at me from above. I couldn't see exactly where it was coming from, so I ran for cover. It followed me, though, and I was afraid it was going to catch up with me and kill me. But I felt like I was being slowed down, like I couldn't run as fast as I should have been able to. As I tried to find cover, I don't think I got hit, but it was very close a few times. Then I woke up. (Subject #76)<br />
    28. 28. Types of Nightmares<br />“Actual” catastrophic dreams: Characteristically these are terrifying vivid nightmares of the actual event<br />“Variable” catastrophic dreams: Are plausible sequences of war event that could realistically have happened, but as far as we know did not actually happened<br />‘hallucinatory” catastrophic dreams: Are ordinary nightmares, but there is a constant relation to specific impactful event (e.g. War)<br />
    29. 29. Category x dream type and x gamer group<br />Wilmer: With therapy nightmare dream types moved from Actual to Ordinary<br />
    30. 30. Clinical Implication of Dream Type<br />Along with Hartmann (1984), Wilmer holds that movement away from a literal replay of the dream, indicates healing, and integration with other autobiographical memories.<br />
    31. 31. Plausible, Low Gamer, Military Dream<br />My military dream occurs when im on deployment. i am securing an airport trying to get forgien nationalist out when a group of militia comes up and wants to get in. When they figure out they cant get by they get mad and be head a civilian and all i can do is watch. (Subject #210)<br />
    32. 32. Impactful Dreams Questionnaire(IDQ)<br />SELF REPORT Ratings of Military Dreams<br />spreading warmth (High>Low)<br />movements vigorous and energetic (High>Low)<br />movements well balanced and graceful (High>Low)<br />sudden shift in visual perception (High>Low)<br /><ul><li>AND: repeatedly avoid harm (Low>High)</li></li></ul><li>Is this typical?<br />I am currently in Iraq. I just read an article on video games and dream. I'm a huge videogamer, and I've always wondered why I never have nightmares... they all ways seem so fun to me! <br />
    33. 33. But then there is this……<br />My name is ……, 30 army vet who has served in Iraq, I’m an avid gamer, meditate heavily and have experienced vivid dreaming most of my life, I do suffer mild PTSD and wonder if I cancontribute in any way with this study.<br />
    34. 34. Take Away Points<br />Gaming may act as an inoculation against some of the negative experiences of nightmares<br />This could be a result of habituation or numbing due to exposure to violence in games<br />Nightmares can re-traumatize the dreamer thus minimizing their effect is important.<br />Dreams reflect a unconscious level so waking ego defence of Macho posturing does not intrude<br />

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