Pokemon GO is a game that endeavors to get you out the door and interacting with other trainers, and the game is quite successful in doing so, at least according to a study conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison that shows that people playing the game tend to be healthier and happier. The study took place roughly three weeks after the game's launch last year and was led by grad student Alanna Peebles, with help from fellow grad student Irene Sarmiento and communication arts professor Marie-Louise Mares. About 400 participants were surveyed, around 40 percent of whom played Pokemon GO. The study did find the Pokemon GO crowd to be happier and healthier overall, but the picture painted by the study was not an entirely simple one.
Of the participants who played Pokemon GO, almost all of them reported being decently active and experiencing positive emotions and social interaction while playing. Generally, the game tends to induce nostalgia in much of the smartphone-owning demographic, since a decent portion of that crowd had grown up playing the original Pokemon games on Nintendo's Game Boy family. The game also frequently created situations where social interaction was encouraged; players were spending more time with friends and family playing the game and were even making new friends thanks to the crowd-centric way in which the game works, the study found.
Not surprisingly, the study concluded that Pokemon GO did not magically make more timid individuals less anxious about social interaction, even if some aspects of the game tend to encourage forging new bonds. The Pokemon GO crowd showed just as much of a tendency toward social anxiety and negative social traits as their non-playing peers, which showed that while the game may certainly encourage social interaction and breaking out of your shell, playing it is no guarantee of improved social chops or any improvement to the underpinnings of social anxiety. This means that the many individual players out there who are just trying to catch 'em all may be experiencing positive feelings that naturally come with getting out and being active, and also implies that Pokemon GO just tends to naturally attract people who are happier.