It isn’t news to gamers that playing video games makes them smarter. However, teachers and parents alike claim otherwise. This is an argument as old as the earliest inception of video gaming. Parents worry that gaming does more damage to brains than good. The accusation is even leveled that games breed violence, though gamers argue otherwise on this point.
Research performed shows benefits of video gaming
A recent study lends credence to the claim that video games can actively train brains. According to a study carried out by the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, it is revealed that regular gamers — esports professionals as an example — process visual information faster than those who don’t play real-time strategy-based games. The games in question that lend toward this include titles such as World of Warcraft, Age of Empires, and Total War
The Independent newspaper in the UK interviewed the study’s author, Dr. Diankun Gong. He said, “Our aim was to evaluate the long-term effect of experience with action real-time strategy games on temporal visual selective attention.”
Based on the research carried out, the findings demonstrated that regular video game players could process visual information faster. Not only this, but they had better temporal visual selective attention, meaning they could quickly choose what to focus their brain power on more optimally.
Improvements come with regular gaming
Dr. Tiejun Liu, co-author of the study, also commented about expert gamers and the improvements made by their regular gaming. They said, “We conclude that such games can be a powerful tool for cognitive training. Expert gamers [became] more effective in distributing limited cognitive resources between successive visual targets.”
The study focused on 38 young male participants. Half of them were considered expert video game players. Based on the study’s details, action real-time strategy gaming (ARSG) include both action and strategy elements and are quite popular in the video gaming market. Not only do these titles require a degree of attention and hand-eye coordination, but they also require that the gamer make strategic decisions based on quick responses in-game. This often entails coordination with teammates, just like traditional team sports like American Football and soccer.
The final verdict
Additional findings from the study showed that visual selective attention (VSA) improved in the game itself by playing up to 15 hours. Also, the subject’s enhancements in two visuospatial working memory tasks improved as well. This took in episodic memory and short-term memory in its analysis. What does this mean? That video games creates an overall improvements in the capabilities of the brain.
Esports professionals might argue that this has been the case for years. But now there’s additional research that supports the fact. Video games aren’t a waste of time, when done in moderation. They can be quite healthy for your brain.
Take that, mom and dad!