This study says your regular video gaming sesh might actually make you smarter
Are you obsessed with playing GTA or Pub G? Is your family concerned about gaming being a mind-numbing stimulus? Well, it’s time to share with them the fact that your gaming sessions might actually stimulate your brain into a smarter state.
Playing video games has multiple benefits! Research has shown that the experience of playing video games can improve cognitive development such as greater sensitivity to contrasts, better eye-to-hand coordination and superior memory.
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This is the impact of video games have on your mind
Action real-time strategy video games such as Age of Empires, World of Warcraft, and Total War are played by millions all over the world. These games–which can be won through strategic planning, selective attention, sensorimotor skills, and teamwork–place considerable demands on the brain.
A study published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience found that expert players of real-time strategy games have faster information processing, allocate more cognitive power to individual visual stimuli, and allocate limited cognitive resources between successive stimuli more effectively through time.
The findings also suggest that playing such games can cause long-term changes in the brain and can lead to an improvement in temporal visual selective attention.
“Our aim was to evaluate the long-term effect of experience with action real-time strategy games on temporal visual selective attention,” said author Dr Diankun Gong, Associate Professor in the Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Neuroinformation at the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China.
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So, how was the study conducted?
To study the effect of gaming on temporal visual selective attention, Gong and colleagues selected 38 volunteers, healthy young male students from the University of Electronic Science and Technology in China.
Half of the volunteers were expert players of the typical action real-time strategy game League of Legend. The others were beginners, with less than six months’ experience of the same game.
All volunteers were seated in front of a screen and tested in a blink task. The greater a volunteer’s tendency to “blink” targets, the less frequently he would press the correct button when one of the two targets appeared on the screen, and the worse he did overall in the task.
“We found that expert League of Legend players outperformed beginners in the task. The experts were less prone to the blink effect, detecting targets more accurately and faster, and as shown by their stronger P3b, gave more attentional cognitive resources to each target,” said co-author Dr Weiyi Ma, Assistant Professor in Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Arkansas, USA.
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“Our results suggest that long-term experience of action real-time strategy games leads to improvements in temporal visual selective attention: the expert gamers had become more effective in distributing limited cognitive resources between successive visual targets,” said author Dr Tiejun Liu.
“We conclude that such games can be a powerful tool for cognitive training,” Liu added.
So ladies, whenever your brain seems to be pushing the snooze button, it’s time for you to have a brief gaming session to invigorate it back to life. Although you must play within a stipulated time to ensure it doesn’t begin to impact your health negatively.