The brain is plastic. It is given stimulus, and it adapts. The connection between a stimulus and the adaptation of the brain has a causal connection. Therefore, controlling what your brain reacts to is a great way to control how it adapts.
This is just a fancy way of saying that you can exercise your brain.
And, though there are many ways to exercise your brain, you could totally work the talk-point of escape games as a mental exercise par excellence into this fancy statement.
Here is a list of 5 psychological reasons you should try an escape room game today, and they are all ways your brain can be thought to get exercise.
1. You Have a New Experience
One way to evaluate an escape room is by its measure of psychological immersion, or just how believable the scenario the escape room game is supposed to convey conveys. Do you lose yourself in the scenario? Did you forget your everyday, mundane life at least for a couple moments?
This list of reasons to try an escape room game starts with “new experience” for the same reason operas, movies, role playing games, and rock climbing are enjoyed. Just like these experiences, you transcend and forget about yourself for the time being. You are simply an actor or role inside a fantastic or bizarre or uncanny situation. The better the immersion, the better the escape room.
In a sense, you get to leave yourself at the door you must escape and become the role of the person who escapes the room. You don their skin and mind. Who wouldn’t want to do this every once in a while?
2. You See How Creative and Clever Humans Can Be
There are two ways to see just how clever your fellow human beings can be:
The cleverness and creativity it takes to construct an escape room scenario
The cleverness and creativity it takes to solve an escape room scenario
For how clever others can be, consider the variety of escape room games out there. There are Disney themed rooms; there are zombie and alien themed rooms; there are Star Wars themed rooms; there are realistic themed rooms, like our own gas-filling-up-a-room scenario. If you can imagine it, an escape room can be made about it.
As for how creative you are training your brain to solve challenging puzzles under time-pressure and stress (the more believable an escape room scenario, the higher the stress!), and it is something truly miraculous to see. When you see someone else solve a challenging puzzle–wow! When you see yourself do it—um, WOAH! What’s more is that you get better at it with time. Check out the next reason to try an escape room game to get more context on this.
3. You Exercise Your Brain
According to NYC’s BrainXscape, within 60 minutes, you can stimulate 99895 neuron synapses as you figure out an escape room. This is a lot of exercise for your brain. The Altantic has even written about how the digital form of escape rooms have become an asset to the classroom in a wide array of topics. Zara Stone, the author of The Atlantic’s “The Rise of Educational Escape Rooms” writes,
They’re an innovative way to bring technology and critical thinking into the classroom, and the benefits are twofold: Games have a history of promoting engagement in a learning environment, and the collaborative elements help students develop social skills.
And it is safe to say that Stone, here, is airing on the side of journalistic caution.
The reason escape room games stimulate us so much, according to an interview of Art Markman, a psychology professor at the University of Texas at Austin, is the “fast thinking” required to escape. Whether BrainXscape’s figure was accurate or not, the stimulation escape rooms provide your brain is certainly something to consider when thinking about whether to try one or not.
4. You Improve Your Team Building/Bonding
Mentioned above was the development of social skills when escaping a room, but the topic of with whom has its own dimensions. A lot of escape room practitioners use escape room scenarios as a prompt to work better or bond with their team, whether they’re family, friends, workmates, or some mixture thereof. Just as thinking can be a challenge within the parameters of an escape scenario, so, too, can be communicating.
However, improvement of communication takes trial and error either within the same scenario or over multiple scenarios. Are you, with all the stress an escape situation affords, communicating to be understood effectively? And are you aware of your communication shortcomings with such pressure? Are you getting angry? Do you give up?
You answer these questions and many more!
If you play escape room games for team building, you can think of playing as the goal and not necessarily winning, according to Successful Meetings’ article, “Escape Rooms Offer a New Take on Teambuilding,” by Matt Alderton. Winning is always nice, but learning to work better, even if it is just by a little bit, can be thought of as a win, too.
Put another way, whether you figure out the puzzle or not, you’re contributing to team building, which is a win. How can this be so even if you do not solve the puzzles?
Team building allows members of a team to create confidence in one another by building experience that support that confidence. According to the Team Building Directory,
You learn through experience to put your trust in another to whom has a common goal with you. It is an emotive, often hard-to-learn lesson that comes only through repetition of these good feelings. When the stakes of winning or losing in a real world setting are taken out of the equation, team building can be a matter of simply having fun in an escape room without missing out on its benefits..
Please stay tuned to this channel because the next blog post is going to be about the psychological reasons escape rooms are educational.
5. Escape rooms benefit your general mood
In an article entitled “12 Reasons Why Escape Rooms Benefit your Health,” the author of the Big Escape Rooms’ blog sums up the improvement of a person’s general mood to “all those tiny releases of dopamine add up and effect your general mood and mindset positively,” which I’m convinced are from the 11 other reasons why escape rooms benefit your health listed in that very same article.
In this sense, it is brought full-circle: the benefits listed in that article and the new ones listed here add up to physiological benefits that culminate in neurochemistry.