FarmVille, Facebook games help adults with relationships, study says

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We've all been inundated with studies surrounding FarmVille and other Facebook games, aiming to prove their addictive qualities or just how many people play on how many devices. But this study lead by Yvette Wohn, a doctoral student at Michigan State University, has found that Facebook games can bring people together and keep them there. The MSU team of researchers surveyed an undisclosed (I don't like the sound of that) number of folks between 22 and 55-years-old about how they used Facebook to manage relationships.

"The interesting thing is that we were asking people how they use Facebook to manage their different relationships," Wohn said. "Surprisingly, all but one person talked about playing games as one of their relationship-management strategies."

According to their research, the subjects' use of Facebook games had three outcomes: initiating, enhancing and maintaining relationships. According to Wohn, the nature of Facebook games requires players to make new friends, which leads to players initiating relationships with strangers. In fact, this is something we've seen firsthand in Mafia Wars. Oddly enough, Wohn went on to say many participants claimed that exchanging gifts and News Feed posts was a form of non-verbal communication. (But we're sure a few "<3" symbols have been thrown in here and there.)

Finally, Wohn said that this non-verbal communication makes social games an attractive method for keeping relationships strong. However, we're a bit put off that no solid numbers were provided by Wohn and her team. On the other hand, this all seems very likely. Facebook users make friends with strangers even without the help of FarmVille. Could you imagine what a game that requires teaming up with strangers could do? That being said, be careful about who you make close connections with online. You wouldn't want to find yourself with a Catfish, right?

Have you ever been in a Facebook game relationship or friendship? What do you think of meeting people through social games? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.

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