The Best Games For Social Skills
Games and sports seem to be almost universal attributes of modern human civilization, both pre-modern and modern. Early athletic games, such as football, basketball, or baseball, are well documented from historical and archaeological sources. From ancient art forms, such as sculpture and painting, to popular television games, from around the globe most commonly depict sports in sports and games.
Cross-cultural studies suggest that most people readily engage in some form of physical skill and activity for the accomplishment of social status or group affiliation. This then suggests that sports and games are common among human beings for the purpose of achieving personal goals. For example, it has been shown that men are more likely to partake in ball games than women, while children are more likely to engage in physical activity than adults. Although all these things are common among humans, many question whether human beings do indeed utilize sports and games as a form of self-improvement. Is there an inherent element of social comparison at work here?
The notion that humans use games and athletics to improve their physical skill can be seen in a number of places. The History Channel made a program a few years back called “Dogs vs. Computers.” In this special documentary, the competition was between dogs and computers. In this instance, the humans greatly outpaced the computers in terms of mental and intellectual ability.
In more traditional research, psychologist James Sutton-Smith explored the relationship between physical skill and self-esteem in humans. In his classic experiment, Sutton-Smith showed participants various types of physical activity, and then asked them to evaluate how much they liked it. Those who were better physically skillful were more likely to evaluate the activity as enjoyable. Interestingly, those who were not as skilled didn’t seem to enjoy the activity as much as those who were very skilled. This suggested that people had a certain amount of “esteem” tied to their physical skill; those who lacked it tended to lack the self-esteem to see that they didn’t have as good of a grasp of the physical world.
Psychology experts have also looked at other types of combative sports and how athletes use them as tools to enhance their ability. In one famous study from the 1970s, psychologist John Smith tested the waterbug’s ability to dive into a bucket of water and emerge with a live worm. Smith injected the waterbug with a bit of mild antifreeze, then asked the participant to dive into the bucket of water and retrieve the worm. Those who regularly swam and/or competed in swimming contests were found to have a significantly greater ability to locate the worm, suggesting that the sport helped to enhance a person’s natural talent. Smith went on to conclude that competition could make a person more competent and competitive.
There are many interesting GAMES for those who want to study psychology or those who just enjoy being outdoors in the great outdoors. A prime example would be cross-cultural competition such as the one between American and British rowers at the 1996 Olympics. After viewing the matches, the British seemed to have less fear less of their opponent. Conversely, the Americans could not seem to figure out why their boats were not winning, despite putting in lots of hours of practice. These examples of GAMES show just how GAMES can be used to help improve social skills and human interaction.