Many people regularly experience cognitive fatigue related to stress, frustration and anxiety at work. Given the amount of time people spend playing games on their smartphones and tablets, a team of researchers conducted a study to assess whether playing casual video games is an effective way to combat stress in the workplace during rest breaks.
In the study, the researchers used a computer-based task that caused cognitive fatigue in 66 participants, who were then given a five-minute rest. During intermission, participants either played a casual video game called Sushi Cat, participated in a guided relaxation activity, or sat quietly in the testing room without using a phone or computer. At different times throughout the experiment, the researchers measured the participants' influence (e.g., stress level, mood) and cognitive performance.
Those who took a quiet rest reported that they were less involved in work and worried as a result, while those who took part in the supervised relaxation activities had so-called reductions in negative influence and anxiety. Only the video players reported feeling better after the break.