Study: Video Gamers React to Extreme Body Images

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MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) _ Feeling a little down on yourself? Think a video game will lift your spirits?

Just don't go for games that feature exceptionally muscular men or very thin women, or your self-esteem could take a hit.

That from Kansas State University psychology professor Richard Harris. He said his research indicates a mere 15 minutes of viewing extreme body types in video games can negatively affect players' feelings about their own bodies.

Harris and graduate student Christopher Barlett organized two study groups of university students.

The men played "WWF Wrestlemania 2000,'' a professional wrestling game that included enormous muscular specimens such as The Rock, Big Boss Man and The Undertaker.

The second study group was made up of women who played a beach volleyball game.
Participants in the research were surveyed about their body image before playing the sports games and questioned after interacting with the games for 15 minutes.

Harris said both male and female subjects viewed their own bodies more negatively after completing a cycle at the game control. He said the immediacy of reaction by game players was disturbing because video games are such a powerful element of popular culture.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)