BY: AYA TSINTZIRAS
Contrary to popular belief that video games can only have a negative effect on your brain and attention span, a new study has discovered the opposite: video games positively impact cognition, perception and attention.
Researchers at the University of Rochester and Princeton learned that those who play a certain kind of video game—ones involving action that is fast-paced—are more easily able to learn. The idea is that our brain is constantly guessing what will come next when we’re engaged in activities like driving or even listening to someone else talk. So fast-paced video games mean we are constantly reacting to action and our brains become increasingly better at making those predictions.
A number of experiments were conducted involving both experienced gamers and those who hadn’t played much. One group played action video games such as Call of Duty for 50 hours, and a second group played a game like The Sims without action for 50 hours as well. Each group was tested on “pattern discrimination” both before and after playing the game. This went on for a period of nine weeks, and it was discovered that the more experienced gamers could better understand and differentiate patterns. What is interesting, though, is that even those with less experience tested well after playing for 50 hours.
This study comes on the heels of previous ones that also looked at how video games affect cognitive abilities. Another study found that gamers can more quickly respond to visual stimuli in the surrounding environment.
Video games can also lead to generally quicker response times and better hand-eye coordination. Welcomed news for avid gamers.