Boffins have discovered playing Call of Duty actually makes you tougher.
Top researchers at Keele University discovered people who played violent shooting games, like war-series Call of Duty, were able to tolerate more pain than those who had played a non-violent golf simulation.
Killing people in a virtual environment allowed the participants in the experiment to keep their hands in a bucket of ice water for 65 per cent longer than those who played the golf game – which is a standard scientific pain test.
The British scientists discovered playing violent games triggers our survival instincts, the natural ‘fight or flight’ response to stress – which can increase our pain threshold and boost our heart rate.
Dr Richard Stephens, the senior psychology lecturer who led the study, said: “This latest study was a test of that assumption in which we set out to try and raise participants’ aggression levels by having them play a violent video game.
“We then tested the effect on pain tolerance.
“The results confirm our predictions that playing the video game increased both feelings of aggression and pain tolerance”.
Playing controversial shooter computer games can help deal with short-term pain, because their bodies will ‘gear-up’ as the brain is tricked into believing it is in a life or death situation.
Dr Stephens added: “Pain researchers have already been exploring the use of virtual reality as a way of helping people better deal with pain.
“A group in Seattle, USA, encouraged children with severe burns to explore a snowy virtual landscape while their dressings were changed.
“This reduced the amount of pain and discomfort they felt during this procedure.”
The team from Keele University have also been instrumental in discovering that swearing also helps reduce pain because it triggers a physiologically aggressive response, rather than just a distraction.
Gamer Sam Regan, 23, said: “Usually I’m weak and can’t cope with pain, but after a few hours killing Communists on Call of Duty, I feel tough and ready for anything.”