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While playing computer games is sometimes seen as a solitary pursuit, a study at Brigham Young University shows that it actually enhances social connections. Studying the effect of multiplayer online games on marriages, researchers found that in the 76% of the cases where the couple played together, games actually aided the relationship. In other words, couples that gamed together stayed together. Games may have other effects on us too. The famous psychologist, Philip Zimbardo, recently spoke out on the subject. In his 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment, in which volunteers were randomly assigned the roles of prisoner or guard, he howed that human behaviour is heavily influenced by environmental and social pressures. More recently, Zimbardo even suggested that exposing children to morally ambiguous situations in games could be useful in helping them develop their own moral compass. One possibility is to explore virtual worlds through computer games that could enable people to experience and understand concepts that they would otherwise find difficult to imagine. Games about society, populated by real people and open to all, could help test how different cultural backgrounds could be brought together in peace.

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