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A Video Game About Being Everything Is Less Stressful Than It Sounds

The game was published by Double Fine Productions, who had also published Mountain. In the initial announcement, OReilly described the game as "about the things we see, their relationships, and their points of view. In this context, things are how we separate reality so we can understand it and talk about it with each other".[7] He also considered Everything to be a continuation of themes he had introduced in Mountain.[8][4] Later, OReilly described his hope for players of the game: "I want Everything to make people feel better about being alive. Not as an escape or distraction, or arbitrary frustration, but something you would leave and see the world in a new light."[9] Besides the ideas of Watts, OReilly said that Everything's approach and narrative includes Eastern philosophy, continental philosophy, and stoicism.[3]

A video game about being everything is less stressful than it sounds

Procrastination is seen as a severe problem among young people, and many factors have been claimed to be associated with it, playing video games being one of them. One of the reasons why video games might be related to procrastination is their ability to offer instant gratification and feedback, while at the same time offer distractions from less tempting and rewarding tasks. It is not yet agreed on whether or not video game players are more prone towards procrastination and discounting of future rewards.

While a large body of research on procrastination has investigated the relations between personality traits and procrastination [15], impulsivity has been received extra attention due to being one of the strongest correlates of procrastination [16]. Several findings imply a connection between impulsivity and procrastination [4, 5, 17], with higher impulsivity being related to more procrastination. However, impulsivity is not a unitary construct [18] and experimental tasks measure different aspects of impulsivity [19]. One well-established paradigm to gauge impulsivity is delay discounting, i.e. the extent to which smaller and immediate rewards are preferred over larger and delayed rewards [20, 21]. Such a paradigm has been used in a recent study [22], with results showing that procrastinators had a higher preference for immediate rewards compared to non-procrastinators. These findings are in-line with other research indicating that procrastinators have a higher tendency to engage in short-term mood repair when faced with a task that is viewed as aversive [13], as well as a lower ability to delay gratification [23]. One way that procrastinators can find their short-term mood repair and escape from the chores of everyday life is through the use of various forms of media. For those who are well regulated, media can be a source of relaxation and recovery from the strain of daily life [12, 24]. For others, media can be a form of psychological escapism, with the wish to escape from ruminating on negative events or unsolved problems in their lives [25]. Although correlational, individuals who report lower life satisfaction and well-being have been found to watch more television than individuals with less stress and those who reported a higher quality of life [26, 27]. Indeed, a growing number of publications indicate that increased media use is also linked to problems of procrastination [28,29,30], where media consumption can result in exacerbating problems rather than alleviating them. In a recent study among students, those reporting low trait self-control, also reported more habitual checking and enjoyment of Facebook, suggesting that Facebook can be a tool for procrastination [31]. Similarly, it has been found that low trait self-control was related to increased time spent on leisure media use and decreased time on self-directed learning [29]. It seems then, that those who procrastinate frequently, use easily accessible entertainment such as TV, internet and video games to escape from their more important obligations [32, 33].

With games becoming more widespread and readily available [34], games can now serve as a medium for procrastination alongside television and the internet [32]. Previous research has demonstrated that those who chronically delay (i.e. procrastinators) have a high preference for pleasurable activities such as games as distractors from aversive tasks [11]. This aligns with an experimental study [28], showing that reducing internet gaming can help reduce procrastination and increase life satisfaction. Some studies have also found that too much video gaming is related to negative effects such as lower psychosocial well-being and loneliness, poorer social skills, decreased academic achievement, increased inattention and decreases in verbal memory performance [35], but these findings remain mixed and controversial [36]. As such, more recent research has shown that these negative effects of video game play is not ubiquitous, with newer studies have started documenting that playing video games can also have several positive effects. For example, in a meta-analysis [37] playing action computer games were found to positively affect spatial skills and that these training effects could transfer to other spatial tasks outside the video game context (but see [38]). Other positive effects of video games include higher attention allocation [39], enhanced creativity and problem-solving skills [40], as well as increase in positive emotions, promote relaxation and ward off anxiety [41]. Some researchers have pointed out the important recreational value of interactive media such as games in assisting in the necessary recuperation from daily stress, and that this can lead to increased productivity in the long run [42]. Other research points out that the connection between video games and procrastination only exists when gaming is in the clinical spectrum [43], supporting the idea that playing video games can be used as an escape from problematic real life situations rather than being the source of them [44]. Importantly, there is a huge variety of video games, ranging from action / adventure games to strategy games and (social) multiplayer games that affect those who play them in different ways. Gaming has also become a popular sport with professional players, i.e. gaming has become a full-time job for a few. Video gamers are everything but a homogenous group.

The purpose of study 1 was to investigate if more hours of video gaming and stronger delay discounting could predict more problems of procrastination. The results showed no strong support. We did not find that more delay discounting in combination with more hours spent on video games predicted more problems of procrastination. We did not find that delay discounting was related to procrastination either. Further, although there was an association between hours played video games and procrastination, this link was weak and only in an analysis taking age and gender into account. As previously reported, procrastination was less the older the participant was [6]. With age also the number of hours spent video gaming declined. Likely, as one gets older other obligations, i.e. family and job, or not being a student, offers less time to indulge in procrastination [56]. The experiential discounting task might also appeal to procrastinators, as the waiting time could be used to e.g. check something on the smartphone. That is, the survey and playing the discounting task are itself means to procrastinate.

Since not all video gamers are students or teenagers, our study is more generalizable, despite being a convenience sample, than a study done solely on a student population. Furthermore, despite a large amount of dropouts our results were unlikely affected by selection bias (Table 1), as we found no systematic differences between those that choose to complete the EDT plus the questionnaire versus those that completed the survey only. Perhaps contrary to popular belief then, the final result showed that increased amount of gaming hours had only a small impact on procrastination, and was not modified by delay discounting, i.e. the degree that someone prefers smaller immediate rewards as opposed to larger but delayed rewards. Indeed, [57] found no relationship between hours playing video games and negative outcomes, suggesting that measuring video game hours alone is insufficient.

Our data did not support any strong relationship between hours of videogaming, procrastination, and delay discounting, and effort discounting. In both surveys we found no statistically significant relation between hours spent video gaming and procrastination, nor between delay discounting and procrastination. The associations had a small effect size but were all in the predicted direction. Only in combining the data from both studies could we find a very small, but statistically significant, relation between procrastination and time spent on video games. We caution this result, as we advertised the study as being about videogaming, likely leading to a collider bias i.e. we may have recruited those gamers who are more prone to procrastinate than would be found in the population of all gamers. For example, recent surveys on internet gaming found a low prevalence [63] of problematic gaming, i.e. playing as escapism might be rarer in the population than in our sample.

Indeed, as expected we found that those who indicated that they were playing video games as a mean to escape from reality, or to have a break from stress, had a significantly higher level of procrastination than those who were playing for entertainment, break from everyday life, or for the social value of games. Curiously, even though it seems that these participants were using video games to procrastinate, they did not report more time playing video games than those who were procrastinating less. This strengthens previous findings that hours of video gaming is not related to severity or negative outcomes [57, 63], but that the reasons for playing video games does.

Now consider passive-aggressive behavior. If you communicate in a passive-aggressive manner, you may say yes when you want to say no. You may be sarcastic or complain about others behind their backs. Rather than confront an issue directly, you may show your anger and feelings through your actions or negative attitude. You may have developed a passive-aggressive style because you're uncomfortable being direct about your needs and feelings. 350c69d7ab


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