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If you play violent video games, you can take more pain

Research at the U.K.'s Keele University suggests that those who play nasty video games have a 65 percent higher tolerance for pain than those who play other games.

CapcomUnityVideos/YouTube Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Researchers do sometimes concoct the most marvelous hypotheses.

However, some large heads at Keele University in the U.K. have managed to entice me into a piece of research that truly lifts the spirits.

For reasons that may or may not be related to Britain's own repressed but violent nature, these psychologists decided to inflict pain on gamers.

They wanted to see whether those who played violent games tolerated real, physical anguish better than those who played sissy games like EA's Tiger Woods mullarkey.

One wonders whether the participants knew that they would be subjected to waterboarding.

Well, it wasn't quite waterboarding, but close. According to the Daily Mail, they were asked to play games for 10 minutes and then told to stick their hands in freezing cold water.

If I had been one of the participants, I might have wondered whether this was a focus group for some sort of new hand cream or rubber gloves.

But oh, no, this was academia trying to see how much human beings can take.

Keele's Dr. Richard Stephens told the Mail: "The results confirm our predictions that playing the video game increased both feelings of aggression and pain tolerance."

And how. Those who played the violent games had a 65 percent greater tolerance to pain than the golfing wussies.

The researchers seem to have in their minds that violent games increase the presence of "fight or flight" stress responses, which therefore numb the senses.

One can imagine, therefore, that those who are about to enter difficult and potentially painful situations -- an NFL game, a wrestling match, or a first date -- might arm themselves by playing a little Resident Evil.

Somehow, being numb to the world does help one navigate its more treacherous areas.

Who would have imagined that violent video games could help one along the way?