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Duke Nukem-like video game to help measure depression?

Jeannie Choe

Contrary to popular belief, the lives of gamers aren't necessarily all lame and depressing. In fact, recent studies from the US National Institute of Mental Health shown that depressed people pwn less than non-depressed people in video games that test spatial memory. Depression has been associated with a shrunken hippocampus, a part of the brain that influences spatial memory performance. USNIMH researchers have developed a video game based on scenes from Duke Nukem where players navigate around a virtual town trying to hit up as many landmarks as possible in a limited amount of time. The depressed players averaged at 2.4 locations in comparison to "healthy" players with 3.8 locations. Players suffering from deeper depressions yielded lower scores -- an indicator that these tests may someday lead to quantitatively measuring different levels of depression. Of course, it's hard to quantify how much a continued lack of Duke Nukem Forever might have tainted these results.

[Thanks, Matthew S.]

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